By Ariana Nieves,
Sustainable Investment Group (SIG)
Composting is extremely beneficial to the environment. The list of benefits can go on and on, and recycling natural materials into the Earth has drastically increased in popularity. Findings show “in just the last five years, the number of communities offering composting programs has grown by 65 percent.” Many people are becoming more interested in the process; however, it is not just for homes. Comprehensive composting focuses on utilizing these techniques in building projects, creating an infrastructure to take waste generated from building occupants and recycle it to create rich soil and mulch. Additionally, incorporating this method into projects can have financial benefits as well.
Composting helps to reduce the waste in landfills by taking food scraps and vegetation trimmings and recycling them to create nutrient-dense material to place into the soil; this helps enrich the Earth better than synthetic fertilizers. In turn, composting improves soil quality which alone creates many benefits as soil plays a major role in several variables.
For example, the nutrients help prevent soil erosion. The compost binds the soil together and increases the surface flow of water; this increased flow also aids with stormwater management. Additionally, better soil produces healthier plant growth. The dirt is rich with nutrients that plants thrive off, allowing them to flourish to new heights. Improved soil quality not only generates better water flow but also retains water more effectively, creating drought resistance. Just by helping the soil composting helps with a multitude of environmental aspects.
Further, composting helps combat climate change. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing waste in landfills and helping plants grow. A study found “composting organic waste versus landfilling it can reduce more than 50% of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions.” If implemented into more projects, this could significantly improve climate change efforts globally.
Food scraps make up one-third of garbage in landfills. Composting significantly reduces landfill fees due to its ability to reduce waste. Many institutions and businesses that have been saving thousands over the years just by composting. Some examples include, New Seasons Market (saved $25,000) , Petco Park (saved $75,000), and Middlebury College (saved $100,000). Composting is a great investment and inherently boosts the project and business image with green initiatives.
LEED Credit Opportunity
Comprehensive composting can also help a project obtain LEED certification. The USGBC offers one point for comprehensive composting and outlines two options to earn it. The credit concentrates on creating an infrastructure that meets the needs of the entire project. The first option focuses on regular compost collection and offsite processing, while the second option centers around onsite compost processing. The USGBC outlines the infrastructure needed and reveals the composting process from start to finish. To learn more about the credit requirements click here: https://www.usgbc.org/credits/new-construction-core-and-shell-schools-new-construction-retail-new-construction-homes
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