Composting is a natural process of recycling leading to decomposition of organic matter such as fruit and vegetable wastes, grass clippings, and leaves into a useful product for your landscape or garden.
Periodic composting workshops are sponsored by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, which also sells composting bins. Refer to their Smart Gardening website for schedules of local workshops and information on backyard composting, worm composting, grass recycling, water-wise and fire-wise gardening.
Benefits of Composting
Compost, high in nitrogen-based nutrients, can be used in flower beds, gardens or lawns to upgrade the soil - and because it is highly absorbent you can use less water.
Food and paper are the two largest contributors to landfill, and make up more than half of all landfill waste - more than all plastics, diapers, Styrofoam and tires, combined. [source: United States Environmental Protection Agency].
Food is the number 1 least recycled material [source: United States Environmental Protection Agency].
Composting can reduce homeowner trash at the curb by 25 to 40%.
Compost materials are free and readily available in comparison to commercial fertilizers and other gardening products on the market.
Composting is organic and does not involve chemicals, huge amounts of power, or the use of diesel trucks for transport (as do other types of recycling). Since it is organic it is not a chemical fertilizer which can contaminate drinking water and kill fish, frogs, and other animals.
High-temperature composting can kill weed seeds, insect pests and disease-causing bacteria, and reduces the odors associated with animal manure. Compost loosens up clay soils so air and water can penetrate and helps sandy soils retain water and nutrients.
Compost is known to suppress various root diseases in crops and can help them better tolerate an insect attack.
Food and paper are biodegradable in nature but not in landfills, due to lack of oxygen being buried deep and saturated with water. Landfills "embalm" food and paper for many years. The only real decomposition is anaerobic (lacking oxygen) which produces harmful methane greenhouse gas.