“International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) is the largest and most comprehensive education initiative of the compost industry… The goal of the program is to raise the awareness of the public regarding the benefits of using compost to improve or maintain high quality soil, to grow healthy plants, reduce the use of fertilizer and pesticides, improve water quality and protect the environment.” — ICAW Homepage
This year’s theme is “Cool the Climate- Compost!”. This theme highlights the intrinsic connection between waste management, soil health and climate change Compost use and production helps reduce our collective carbon footprint by storing the carbon plants capture from the atmosphere and return it to the soil. This carbon is currently released back into the atmosphere in the form or greenhouse gasses from incinerators and landfills.
Reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from incinerators and landfills is only half of what composting accomplishes. Our agricultural system is a large source of soil-related GHG emissions, and compost use helps reduce these emissions. Besides cattle belching, the largest source of agricultural GHG emissions in our agricultural system is nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from the addition of natural or synthetic fertilizers and untreated livestock waste to our soil. The use of compost as an alternative to fertilizers has been shown to greatly reduce N2O emissions.
By focusing on improving the overall health of our soil through the use of compost we can greatly reduce the a large portion of agricultural GHG emissions. This same idea also applies to horticulture and landscaping. Whether you are tending to your own property or farm, treat your soil right, use compost and your plants will love you.
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