High school environmental science teacher Denis DuBay, Ph.D., has some advice for readers of the Raleigh, North Carolina News & Observer. He wants people to start backyard compost bins, which he notes can be a good source of nutrients for gardening.
Compost, DuBay points out, saves water, reuses nutrients, protects water quality, eases pressure on landfills, enriches soil and "promote[s] the growth of the beautiful trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables that can grace yards large and small around the Triangle."
DuBay also explains in detail why Raleigh's controversial ban of in-sink garbage disposals is a good idea. For one thing, it saves water. For another, the nutrients rinsed down the kitchen sink aren't handled well by sewage treatment plants, and therefore end up entering local waterways. There, they spur harmful algae growth, which can crowd out other native species, and lead to poor water quality.
DuBay also points out that landfilling table scraps isn't so hot either, since it takes up space and releases methane, a global warming gas.
Composting should start sounding better all the time! Getting started is a cinch! All you need is a place to layer yard clippings with food scraps (breathable bins work great, but you can use a corner if you have to). For best results, keep things moist and stirred up, but even a poorly tended compost pile will break down over time, so don't stress it too much.
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