Composting Basics: The What & Why

What & Why

Composting is nature’s own recycling system. Leaves, grass, and other organic matter provide a food supply for nature’s recyclers - bacteria, worms, fungi, and other microorganisms. These organisms feed on the plant material, breaking them down, and turning them into a dark, nutrient-rich organic product called compost.

Cartoon of person at a compost heap with a rake

Composting is a natural process that happens with or without human intervention. When nature composts organic matter on its own, it’s called decomposition. Waste from farming, raking, and food preparation, including leftover food scraps as well as unharvested parts of plants and other yard waste, contain valuable nutrients that can be turned into fertilizer through composting!

Composting is simple, with just a few basics to learn. Nature takes care of most of the hard work! If you have a garden, you will find composting to be a valuable source of quality fertilizer for your plants and lawn. If not, you can give your compost to a friend, neighbor, or family member. Some local organizations or community groups will happily accept compost for their gardens or landscaping. Composting provides an opportunity to turn what would otherwise be thrown in to the trash into an environmentally friendly and useful product.

Master Composter Worm Bin with Food
Worm Bin - Noelle and Jessie