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Composting: Nature's Way of Recycling Organic Materials

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Photo courtesy of Anna Hoychuk Photography

Composting is becoming ever increasingly popular, both on the farms and in the homes. Composting is an excellent way to reduce waste that’s sent to landfills while providing soil in your gardens or fields with precious nutrients (that’s why they call it “black gold”!)

But did you know that composting enhances rainfall penetration, which reduces water runoff and soil erosion?  This in turn reduces sediment, nutrients, and pesticide losses to streams. By improving the soil, compost also enhances beneficial microbes that help reduce plant diseases and pests – meaning less use of pesticides. Did you know that ARS has a 2-acre composting facility just outside our Nation’s Capital? That’s almost an entire football field, and another half of a football field, of organic recycling!

To learn how to get started with composting, other benefits of this natural recycling method, or how ARS researchers are discovering new ways to prepare composts from a variety of mixed sources of organic materials, check out our Compost Page.