By separating home yard wastes and turning them into compost, it is estimated that municipalities can reduce the amount of trash going to landfills by about 20%. While that is a significant reduction, it is expected that even more trash will have to be diverted from landfills in the future. Materials such as soiled food packaging, disposable diaper padding, food scraps, natural fiber rags, pieces of wood, and other organic materials could all be composted. To do this, municipalities may have to establish municipal solid waste (MSW) treatment facilities to separate the compostible materials from the harmful materials, such as discarded batteries, motor oil, asbestos, and many household chemicals.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMPOST AND FERTILIZER?
The simplest way to distinguish between compost and fertilizer is to remember this: Compost feeds the soil and fertilizer feeds the plants.
Fertilizer adds to the soil’s nutrient supply, but instead of feeding the soil food web, the ingredients in fertilizers are intended to meet the needs of fast-growing plants. While recommended amounts of compost can be quite general, fertilizer application rates are based on the needs of plants. Either organic or conventional fertilizers work well for vegetables, but organic fertilizers have been shown to be friendlier to the soil food web. Chemical fertilizer can also feed composting, but continual use may throw soil chemistry out of balance and discourage microbes.