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The Joys and Benefits of Composting

Did you know that almost 40% of waste in our landfill in Alice Springs is compostable organic material? Turn your kitchen waste into 'black gold' and reduce your footprint on the planet.

Composting your food and garden waste is an easy way to help reduce the production of harmful greenhouse gases, while increasing the amount of low-cost, nutrient-rich soil in arid lands and for your garden. With about 3% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions coming from organic matter rotting anaerobically (without air) in landfills, everyone should be composting! 

Whether you live in a small apartment, or somewhere with more space, there are a range of options available to set yourself up for composting. From commercially available to home-built containers and tumblers or simply piling scraps in a corner of the yard, there are many ways to convert your organic scraps into your very own ‘miracle grow’. For some, worm composting (vermiculture) may be the ideal choice - easy to do in smaller spaces, with the benefits of all- weather composting (since you can keep the compost bin indoors or in a sheltered area), no need for turning or watering and the production of compost that is considered richer in nutrients than what’s produced via a traditional compost pile.

Whatever method you use, you’ll need to do a bit of research on how to properly look after your compost and ensure it retains the right smell and consistency and doesn’t attract pests. 

But what do you do with all that nutrient-dense compost soil if you don’t have a garden? Here are a few ideas:

  • Compost can be used in your potted plants at home or in the office. In addition to adding helpful nutrients, compost will help your soil with water retention. Just make sure your compost is completely decomposed first, so it doesn’t compete with the plants.
  • Spread the love to the trees and plants around your yard and neighbourhood – you’ll not only enhance the micro-organisms and nutrients in the soil, making them more resistant to disease and pests, but you’ll increase the soil’s moisture level which means less watering!
  • Donate your compost to a school or community garden
  • Connect with more of your neighbours. What better way than to offer them some free, nutrient-rich compost for their garden. If they already have their own composting setup, you can see if they mind if you just add your scraps to their pile every few days

  • See if a local farm can use it
  • Post an ad on the local FB community page and see if someone would like to have it for their garden and pot plants

Composting can be a great way to slow down, connect with nature and your community or friends, and try something new. It can also be a fun way to teach the kids to do something positive for the planet, and give them a sense of ownership and understanding of the cycle of nature, growth and decomposition. Even more fun when they use their compost to plant things and watch them grow!  

The native birds and wildlife will thank you too, as the soil you produce becomes a haven for earthworms - a great food source for many animals. The worms will also help with the aeration and drainage of the soil. Adding compost to the garden will help combat nutrient deficiencies in the soil, adding more nutrients to plants and making them more resistant to diseases and pests. This means less need for pesticides, resulting in healthier food.

To learn more about different composting methods and which way might work for you, check out ALEC’s blog post on Composting 101

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