It's funny to think of landfill sites as a precious resource, but they're filling up so quickly that we could soon struggle to find space to bury our ever-growing mountains of waste.
When sent to landfill, kitchen and garden waste (organic waste) rots anaerobically, giving off smelly methane gasses. In fact, landfilled organic waste creates 40% of the UK’s methane emissions,2a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than CO2.
When composted, this waste decomposes with oxygen, giving us a far less smelly, more useful output. If everyone in the UK were to compost their food waste, we could save the equivalent of 2 million tonnes of CO2 every year.
Commercially produced compost often contains peat taken from peat bogs, which are rich carbon sinks. Through digging up these natural British habitats, yet more carbon dioxide is thrown up into our atmosphere – the same amount as emitted by about 100,000 homes.3
So by making your own compost you're definitely onto a winner, whichever way you look at it.
This bit's obvious: compost helps things to grow. It improves the health of your plants while reducing the need for water and artificial fertilisers. Compost heaps themselves are a great way to attract wildlife, worms, slugs, hedgehogs, birds, lizards, the lot!4
The peat bogs from which shop-bought compost comes from are hugely rich and diverse habitats, housing many rare and protected plants and animals. They're being destroyed by the recent craze for peat-based fertilisers, endangering these species yet further.
With landfill taxes on the up and council budgets on the down, composting your organic waste is a great way to help your council save money for the things that really need it.
A bag of compost also costs you about £7 a pop, so by making your own you could treat yourself to a few extra bulbs next winter.