13 Composting Facts You Should Know About

composting facts
Learn the proper values of sustainable living by composting your household waste for an easier and healthier life. 

Buying coffee in paper cups won’t save the polar bears. Most of the cups are non-biodegradable and end up in landfills anyway. 

Here’s a list of 13 fun facts that should inspire you to get started. 

1. You Can Use Hot Compost to Grow Heat Loving Plants in Cold Climates

Tomatoes, lettuce, eggplants, and bell peppers are good examples of heat-loving plants that fail during winter. The plants can be difficult to cultivate in cold climates and pile up hefty maintenance costs. 

You can use the ‘hot bed’ process with your composting material to generate enough heat that sustains these warmth-loving plants. 

Still, ensure you monitor your composting ingredients because some components might be toxic to the plants, especially food crops.

2. You Can Make a Hot Water Heater With Compost

Hot water is an indispensable feature of many homes across the country but comes with substantial monthly billing.

Why not cut costs by making a hot water heater with compost? Simply coil a hose through a compost heap, and as the water passes through it, it’s heated by the high temperatures produced during the composting process. 

You can enjoy hot baths with minimal to no electric consumption.

3. Real Compost Loses Volume

As a general rule of thumb, a well-maintained compost loses about 85% of its volume and 20% of its mass.

Microorganisms break down organic matter into the dirt, reducing the mass and volume of your compost material significantly.

Finished compost should feel somewhat moist, like a wrung-out sponge. 

4. Composting Can Heat a Greenhouse or House

 A compost heap’s internal temperatures can reach temperatures between 115-160°F (46-71°C). This heat is enough to maintain warm temperatures in greenhouses and your house during cold winters.

To effectively heat the structure, you must get the right ratio of compost volume to the size of your greenhouse. If your pile is too small for your greenhouse, it will have minimal heating effects. 

You can use strategic bin placement or trench composting between row planting to reduce the costs associated with heating a greenhouse.

Also, tighter confines of a compost pile raise the heat generated during the composting process compared to loosely packed compost materials. 

5. Composting Captures Greenhouse Gasses (GHGs)

Proper composting habits minimize greenhouse gas emissions directly through carbon dioxide sequestration and indirectly through reduced soil loss, increased water infiltration and storage, and improved soil health.

As a result, composting practices reduce the earth’s carbon printing and effectively slow global warming.

6. Compost Can Combust Spontaneously

Spontaneous combustion of compost materials is rare and mostly associated with other contributing conditions. For your compost to catch fire, it must reach internal temperatures of about 300°F to 400°F (150°C to 200°C), which is unlikely to happen outdoors. 

Yard waste like yard trimmings, grass clippings, and vegetable waste can contribute to the spontaneous combustion of your compost.

These green compost materials have active plant cells that continue to respire until air and moisture content in your pile diminishes. 

The heat from respiring plant cells and microbial activity in a heap can raise the temperatures above average. Since dry carbon material like dead leaves is flammable, it causes fires. 

7. Only 4.1% Of Food Waste Is Composted Annually in the US

Did you know that nearly 40% of all food produced in America is wasted? Shocking, isn’t it? This amount equates to about 130 billion meals wasted annually, and only about 4% of it is composted

This is a massive issue that shouldn’t be overlooked any longer because the food waste ends up in landfills and increases the carbon footprint through methane emissions during the decomposition process. 

Methane is 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere and has accounted for about 30% of global warming since the pre-industrial era.

Increasing composting habits in households across America reduces food waste significantly and minimizes methane emissions in landfills. 

8. You Can Compost Indoors 

“I can’t compost if I don’t have a backyard.” Yes, you can!

People might discourage you from composting in limited spaces because of pests and bad smells. 

However, you can get the most out of composting indoors as you do outdoors using compost tumblers or minimalistic worm composters. These special compost bins are compact, portable, and fit perfectly onto your patio or balcony.

Modern electric-assist composters turn your kitchen waste and food scraps within hours and sit comfortably on your kitchen counter. Where there’s a will, there’ll always be a way.

9. Some Bird Species Also Like Composting

Did you know that humans aren’t the only species on earth aware of the benefits of composting? The Australian Brush-turkey bird makes its own compost to incubate its eggs so they won’t have to sit on them. 

These birds collect organic material from decomposing vegetation because the heat produced by microbial decay keeps the eggs at suitable temperatures of about 33°C (92°F). Each nest generates about 20 times more heat than a resting adult turkey allowing effective incubation of more eggs simultaneously. 

The birds also use their bills to monitor the nests’ temperature and occasionally mix the composting ingredients and add or remove vegetation as humans do. 

10. New Businesses in the US Can Sustain Jobs by Utilizing Tons of Compost Annually

Expanding compost production and use across the country for erosion and stormwater control and in green projects like rain gardens can create a new business sector that sustains about 18 jobs annually.

The workload required for such objectives would also constitute new investment and employment opportunities.

11. 28% Of Waste Deposited in Landfills Can Be Composted

About 30% of household waste in every home is made of compostable material. Yet, 28% of the waste dumped in landfills can be composted. Once this waste piles up and decays, it emits toxic greenhouse gases like methane, increasing global warming. 

If everyone in the United States composted, It would be equivalent to removing 7.8 Million cars from the road.

It might take time to convince every household across the country to compost their waste, but we’ll get there eventually. Because if everyone did, we’d be taking nearly 8 million cars off the road. Imagine how clean the air would be. 

12. Soil With Compost Has Better Water-Holding Capacity Than Traditional Soil

Compost improves aeration in clay and boosts nutrient retention in sandy soil, allowing it to hold more water when mixed with garden soil.

Still, different soil types require contrasting compost ratios, so you must inspect your soil first. 

13. Worms Can Help Kill off Some Harmful Bacteria

Earthworms are a gardener’s best friend because they improve the soil’s physical structure and break down organic compounds. 

But did you also know that vermicomposting can help destroy various pathogenic microorganisms during a cast and gut-associated processes?

These worms feed on microorganisms or select and stimulate specific microbial groups, reducing their activity and abundance in your compost.

Still, you need to dive deeper into this study to understand the effect of worms on beneficial bacteria and pathogens. 

Composting could solve some of the world’s most concerning issues on waste management and climate change if only we embraced the practice.

Still, composting has different sides, so it’s best to do your research before starting. 


Discovering composting as a way of life or even better, as nature’s way of recycling, Ana dedicates her time to trying out new methods of composting at home. Her goal is to share everything that she’s learned in the hopes that it will help others discover the amazing rewards of composting.

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