Why Use a Compost Tumbler?

About Compost Tumblers and Why They Work So Well

With all of the talk about going green, reducing your carbon footprint and helping to reduce climate change these days, more and more people are looking at the possibility of using compost tumblers in their back yard. I am going to show you some of the benefits of composting here and then look at some of the best methods of creating compost from your kitchen scraps, yard waste, and many other sources.

The benefits creating compost

One of the most prominent reasons to compost is that you are creating a natural fertilizer for your yard and garden. The nutrients from the food waste and yard waste is naturally turned back into the same plant nutrients that you get when you purchase commercial fertilizer from the hardware store, except that the compost form of these nutrients is completely natural and much less harmful to the environment. Why is it less harmful to the environment? Because commercial fertilizers are made from ingredients that require a vast expenditure of energy to produce them. The main nutrients in plant fertilizer are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Most nitrogen production uses natural gas as its base ingredient, and then nitrogen is forced to react with the gas at high temperatures and pressure, requiring lots of energy. Phosphorus and potassium are mined from big open pit mines using heavy machinery requiring massive amounts of diesel fuel for transporting and processing. The traditional end result, sadly, is that food waste and yard waste end up going to the landfill.

How it can save the planet

Imagine for a moment if every household in the United States returned every shred of organic household and yard waste into compost on the spot. Actually this is a little unrealistic because logistics, such as lack of area in around apartment buildings, for example, make it an unlikely prospect. But just imagine if three quarters of all households did this. The benefits would be three fold:

1. Tremendous savings in fuel by not having garbage trucks transport tons of organic matter to the landfill.

2. Tremendous savings in energy by greatly reducing the amount of industrial fertilizers used.

3. Reductions in fuel used for mining, processing and transporting industrial fertilizers.

By composting, you are putting an end to the wasteful one-way stream of energy use and putting nutrients directly back into the soil, for your yard and garden to naturally thrive on. By doing so, you are also saving money on expensive store bought fertilizer. You are moving one more step toward self sufficiency by not needing to go to the store and buy something that can be produced in your back yard. And you are indirectly reducing carbon emissions. The traditional and most common method of composting is to simply pile the material up, say, in a corner of your yard. This will work, but there are many disadvantages, such as odors, a messy looking yard, and unwanted vermin feeding or nesting in the pile. There is a much better, quicker, and cleaner way to create compost. That is with a device known as a compost tumbler. The compost tumbler makes it super easy to create the conditions needed to create compost in quick order. Organic matter such as food waste, fruit peels and grass clippings need air and a modest amount of moisture to decompose properly. The composting process also creates heat, and this heat needs to be distributed evenly for the best results. By turning every few days, the heat is dispersed evenly, and air is introduced into the compost, and the process proceeds much more rapidly. In addition, the compost tumbler saves the back-breaking work of shoveling and turning the compost pile.

Buy or Build your own compost tumbler

There are many forms and sizes of compost tumblers on the market, if you want to get one all set and ready to use. Alternatively, if you are on a limited budget, there are also plans available that show you how to build your own compost tumbler. The key features are a container capable of holding a large enough quantity of material to make it worth your while, a method of turning the container, the ability to keep any openings closed off when the turning takes place, and vents or holes to allow air to circulate through the mass. Aerating the compost mass creates optimal conditions for the efficient breakdown of organic matter into fine particles.

Two are better than one

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