The Benefits of Composting & Compost Use

Compost Hands closeup

Composting and compost use have numerous benefits in addition to green job creation and reducing the amount of waste destined for landfills and incinerators. At the same time we throw away tons of food scraps and yard trimmings, our soils are eroding and losing nutrients, while damaging receiving waters. Excess fertilizers from farms and suburban lawns, and sediment from construction projects wash off the land and into our water ways every time it rains.
Fortunately, composting and compost use provides many benefits, as described below and in our infographic – Compost: Impacts More Than You Think.


1. Reduces Waste 

2. Improves Soil 

  • Creates a rich nutrient-filled material, humus
  • Increases the nutrient content in soils
  • Helps soils retain moisture
  • Reduces or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers
  • Suppresses plant diseases and pests
  • Promotes higher yields of agricultural crops
  • Helps regenerate poor soils
  • Has the ability to cleanup (remediate) contaminated soil

3. Reduces Stormwater Runoff & Soil Erosion

4. Protects the Climate

  • Cuts Landfill Methane Emissions
  • Stores carbon
  • Improves soil’s ability to store carbon
  • Substitutes for energy-intensive fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides
  • Improves plant growth, and thus carbon sequestration
  • Reduces energy use for irrigation

5. Creates Jobs & Supports Local Economies

  • Composting can be small-scale and local
  • Jobs are local
  • Composting linked to urban farm production
  • Composting can diversify farm products and increase farm income
  • Compost products tend to be used locally
  • Use of compost products sustains additional businesses and green jobs

Source: Institute for Local Self-Reliance, 2016.

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Brenda Platt

Brenda Platt directs ILSR's Composting for Community project.