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A Guest Post By: Jamylynn McDonald
Hey Guys! I am Jamylynn and I work as a Climate Change Coordinator at ACAP Saint John, an environmental non-profit organization in the Greater Saint John region of New Brunswick. I am excited to share some of my experiences and why composting is important to our environment.
For many people, just like Kate, composting is new and unfamiliar but developing these habits can have a positive impact on your personal well-being and on our beautiful planet. Here are a few reasons to try composting, a simple everyday action with a large impact!
1 - Composting organic materials reduces landfill waste. Diverting organic waste helps maintain the longevity of your local landfill. These facilities have a finite capacity and once reached, they will be closed. A new landfill center may be developed further away (increased the GHG emissions associated with transport) and often disrupting local habitat and wildlife due to the expansive area required. In the Fundy region, we are fortunate to have the Crane Mountain facility and need to work together to keep it operational for many years to come.
2 - Take climate action in your life by reducing GHG emissions. How?! In the landfill setting where organic matter is mixed with other waste, the breakdown process is anaerobic --meaning without oxygen -- and results in the production of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) gas. In a compost pile, the breakdown of organic material happens aerobically (with oxygen), only creating CO2 and NOT releasing CH4. These are both GHG’s but have very different capacity for trapping heat in the atmosphere. When compared to carbon dioxide, methane is 21 times more effective at holding heat, meaning any reduction of this GHG is a win!
3 - Keep your household waste clean. Without the decay of organic material mixed in with your household waste, your kitchen garbage bin is less likely to get smelly! This also means that less critters will be attracted and tempted to rip open garbage bags all over the sidewalk or driveway. Less mess, less work for you!
4 - Give back to the Earth! By composting, you are recycling essential nutrients back to the soil and reducing the need for petrochemical fertilizers and soil conditioners. Minimizing the demand for chemical products in our society is challenging but every effort counts! Providing our gardens and lawns with natural compost also increases the capacity for retaining soil moisture which is important for limiting water runoff in urban areas.
5 - Composting reminds us everyday of our connection to the natural world. Recognizing the lifecycle of food can help us to remember how many living organisms exist on our planet and how they work together to create a dynamic environment. It can also help us to realise how many artificial and inorganic compounds are used in our everyday lives. After a couple months of composting, you may start to realise how much of your garbage is consumer products and food packaging.
Maybe one of these reasons resonates with you, maybe all of them do! Taking this time to learn about what composting means and how to get started is the most challenging part. Stay tuned for the rest of Kate's Composting Journey to learn more and I will check back in to share some of my own composting solutions for when living in an urban apartment setting. We're so excited that you are bringing this habit into your home and your daily lifestyle.
Fundy Regional Service Commission. (2017). Solid Waste. Accessed online: https://www.fundyrecycles.com/solid-waste/crane-mountain-landfill/environment/