International Compost Awareness Week in 2023 is from May 7th-13th. Did you know that The single largest source of waste in the U.S. is food? The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that 94% of the food we throw away ends up in landfills. In 2015 alone, that added up to 37.6 million tons of food waste. This is a problem because food (wet) waste decomposes in landfills without proper oxygen, producing methane gas and polluting our environment (over 20 times more deadly than carbon dioxide).
What is International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW)?
International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) is the compost industry’s largest and most comprehensive education initiative. It is celebrated annually nationwide and in other countries during the first full week of May. The goal of ICAW is to work together to raise public awareness on why we all should be composting our organics, recycling, and using compost. The program includes poster and video contests in the fall and activities and events held during the week in May. Throughout the week of ICAW, community, school, government, and business events are held to encourage and celebrate all types of composting, from backyard to large-scale composting. (Compostfoundation.org)
What is compost?
Composting is a natural process where organic materials decompose and are recycled into a dark, crumbly, earthy-smelling soil conditioner known as “compost.” Compost improves soil structure and moisture retention and contributes to healthy plant growth by providing plant nutrients. (Rutgers Cooperative Extension)
- Vegetable food scraps
- Grass clippings
- Weeds, Sawdust, and wood ash
- Chopped twigs and branches
- Coffee grounds with filters
- Meat scraps
- Diseased or insect-infested plants
- Weeds with seeds
- Dog and Cat feces
- Food with grease or soap residues
According to ICAW, here are some critical facts regarding organics recycling and composting use highlighting why ICAW is such an essential awareness-building program:
- The use of landfill space and incineration can be reduced by at least one-third when organics are recycled. Therefore, focusing on recycling organic residuals is critical to achieving high-waste diversion rates.
- Methane, a greenhouse twenty-five times as powerful as carbon dioxide, can be significantly reduced through the recycling of organics instead of their being landfilled.
- Soil health and productivity are dependent on organic matter – the essence of compost — to provide sustenance for the biological diversity in the soil. Plants depend on this to convert materials into plant-available nutrients and to keep the soil well-aerated. Additional benefits include the reduced need for pesticide usage to ward off soil-borne and other plant diseases.
- Compost offers a significant answer to climate change mitigation. Compost’s return to the soil serves as a “carbon bank,” helping to store carbon, thereby removing it from the atmosphere.
- Compost is a huge benefit for both water conservation and quality. When used in water quality projects, compost binds pollutants to the organic material, preventing them from entering our lakes, wetlands, streams, and rivers. In addition, soil erosion is mitigated, and water-holding capacity is improved through compost’s enhancement of soil structure, binding soil particles together.
Is it challenging to compost?
No, it is not difficult to compost. Composting is an excellent project for your family or community. Composting starts with a simple commitment, and it does not take much! Have some fun! Here is a brief map of how to start home composting:
- Choose an outdoor location for your compost pile. It works best in partial shade away from your home and is not easily accessible to animals. You could always purchase a compost tumbler to simplify rotating and mixing your composting materials.
- Add materials. Think of the things you may put down your garbage disposal, no meat or chicken, please, and start with that. You may hear the term green material (food and yard materials) or brown material (carbon-rich items such as branches, paper, straw, and wood chips).
- If you do not use a tumbler, turn the compost pile to balance air and moisture evenly.
- Enjoy the fruit of your efforts and use your compost in your garden for planting and mixing with potting soil.
Are you ready to give it a try?
At Exquisite Property Services, we believe in taking care of our communities:
- Our disposal services focus on waste reduction and diversion to help your facility operations become healthier, safer, and more responsible to the environment.
- Janitorial Services utilize cleaning products, where possible, that are environmentally friendly and cost-effective. Priority is given to procurement products approved by certifying agencies, including EPA, ISO, Safer Choice, and Green Seal.
- Proper disposal of appliances and scrap materials by keeping recyclable materials out of landfills and proper handling ad disposal of hazardous waste.
AND…Composting Services! We offer two Backyard Compost Plans in the Newark, NJ area:
- Concierge Service. Collect your food scraps in the compost bucket we provide, and we’ll visit your home once a week on a day of your choice to add the materials and treat your at-home compost bin. The soil your bin produces can be used for your home garden.
- DIY. Select our kit or use your own to collect your food scraps and create your nutrient-rich soil. Receive bi-weekly or monthly consultation, resources, and support for your compost project. The soil your bin produces is all yours for use in your home garden.
Contact us today to learn more and celebrate International Compost Awareness Week in 2023 is from May 7th-13th.
Resources: healthline.com, ICAW, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Compostfoundation.org