As we approach an era where environmental issues are a top priority, the search for a more sustainable way of life is paramount. The composting movement is starting to take root globally to lead the way with a more environmentally friendly approach to our everyday waste. Biotuff explores this movement and why it is so vital for our children's future.
There is no doubt – composting is a powerful tool against climate change and the growing waste problem in the world. Nations worldwide are now seeing the vast benefits this type of waste management can produce. In essence, we transform our garbage into fertilised soils that can enrich our environment. From parks and gardens to the humble veg patch. Compost is striving a way forward to a greener and healthier planet.
Where Did Composting Come From?
Composting is certainly not something new. Most early civilizations practised some form of composting. From the ancient Akkadian Empire (around 2350BC) to the Indus Valley and pre-Columbian Americans, who understood the enormous benefits of transforming organic matter into fertile soil. This type of composting often used manure and plant waste to spread on fields to improve fertility. The old forms of composting included direct composting, which consisted of burying scraps and plant matter directly into the ground.
It's incredible that even today, our understanding of composting is built from this ancient understanding of the practice; now fused with modern technology and backed with scientific procedures, composting is more efficient than ever before.
The Composting Movement – A Global Embrace
From city slickers in New York maintaining worm bins under their sinks – known as vermicomposting - to huge composting facilities in Nairobi, Kenya, and Germany boasting the highest percentage worldwide of recycling and composting – an impressive 65% of their waste. The world is undoubtedly driving the force behind industrial composting and its enormous benefits.
- Forging Ahead In Europe: Germany, Sweden, and Austria are at the forefront, with policies mandating organic waste separation and supporting composting infrastructure.
- Asian Initiatives: Rapid urbanisation in Asia has seen an increase in waste. Cities like Bangalore and Beijing are investing in large-scale composting facilities, turning heaps of everyday waste into fertile soil.
Africa Taking A Stance: In Africa, movements and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are promoting composting as a solution to soil degradation and also as an essential employment generator, especially in urban areas.
America Loves Composting: North and South American cities have initiated curbside compost collection, with cities like San Francisco aiming for zero waste through composting and recycling.
- Australia Let’s Go FOGO: Curbside collections and composting are quickly gaining traction in Australia. Food Organic Green Organic (FOGO) is now being implemented by councils nationwide.
Benefits Driving the Compost Movement
The solution seems simple – abolish plastics, replace them with compostable plastics and 100% recycled plastic, and create beautiful, rich and nutrient soil with all our waste. The main problem is the infrastructure that is required. The great news, however, is that there is much movement in this sector, with industrial composting expanding rapidly throughout the world.
The main benefits of composting on a larger scale worldwide include:
Waste Reduction: Composting diverts organic waste from landfills, reducing methane emissions—a greenhouse gas far more potent than CO2.
Soil Health: Compost returns nutrients to the soil, promoting biodiversity and reducing the need for chemical fertilisers. Creating a wonderful, closed-loop regarding the circular economy [link to circular economy blog].
Economic Advantages: Composting can save municipal waste management costs and has the potential to generate masses of employment options.
While all of this sounds incredibly positive, there are a few challenges. The most significant being infrastructure, collection and sorting. Quality control, especially in large-scale composting operations, is crucial to produce compost free from pollutants. With so many different grades of traditional plastic still in circulation, Governments will need to be more active in abolishing soft plastics and ultimately replacing them with compostable options to make sorting easier for the composting facility and the consumer.
Public education is another essential key to the composting movement. Individuals need to sort their waste correctly to ensure the products they choose to recycle or compost end up in these facilities, not landfills. [LINK HERE TO RECYCLING BLOG]
The Future of the Composting Movement
The global composting movement is more than just a trend. It's an urgent response to the environmental crises we are all facing, the key to our children’s future, and how the world and environment will look many years down the track. As the globe moves towards sustainable agriculture and circular economies, composting stands out as a practice that can heal the plastic problems of the past and prevent the plastic problem of the future. As old as the age of time, composting has already proven its capacity to help. It is much more advanced today, particularly with the introduction of compostable plastics. With the correct infrastructure and global government support, composting can be the key to transforming our trash into golden soil. Harnessing the power of nature to help our planet heal while substantially reducing our waste.
Embracing composting, whether through industrial or at-home use, can help push this critical movement towards a greener and healthier future for our planet and the generations that will continue to inhabit it. At Biotuff, we are passionate about the future and continue pushing the composting movement forward.