The Impact of Composting

Many years ago, society started the process of preparing soil, sowing, adding fertilizers, planting, irrigating, harvesting, and storage. Farming is a way of living, it was way back when and it still is now. Farming has grown with new technology and more land to provide society with the foods they need. Recently researchers have noticed that crops aren’t like they used to be and this is because the earth has been losing soil ever since farmers began tiling. 95% of global food production relies on soil, it is home to a quarter of all terrestrial species, and it plays a crucial role in storing carbon and water, which helps mitigate climate change and prevent flooding, but when the soil decreases down to zero percent which is expected within the next 60 years the earth soil will be useless. No farmers means no food. Organic waste in landfills generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas. By composting wasted food and other organics, methane emissions are significantly reduced. Compost reduces and in some cases eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers. Compost promotes higher yields of agricultural crops. Improving soil is a must and by composting, it benefits soil by enriching the soil and helps plant growth by balancing the soils density. 

For how easy composting is, it makes a huge impact on earth. The process of composting is to control degradable organic products and wastes into stable products. According to Modupe Ayilara in “Waste Management through Composting: Challenges and Potentials.”

Chemical fertilizers make nutrients readily available to plants, but their disadvantages outweigh their advantages. For example, chemical fertilizers contribute to greenhouse effects, environmental pollution, death of soil organisms and marine inhabitants, ozone layer depletion, and human diseases.

Due to the issues of chemical fertilizers farmers are changing and leaning towards the concept of composting in order to regenerate the soil fertility. Every farm and produce company always has an enormous amount of waste that can be used in the process of composting and help the farmers benefit from their money, time spent, and recycle wastes. With addition of waste and activators to raw material such as wood chips that are thrown away will help to improve the nutritional quality of compost. Viricides, fungicides, anti-nematodes, and antibacterial of plant or organic sources can be used and will improve compost quality. 

Over several years, studies have shown that in California alone 39 million tons of waste has been thrown away. 20 percent of it is organic food and 12 percent of it is wood. In Sudhanshu Behera essay, “Sustainable approach to manage solid waste through biochar assisted composting,” Behera claims, “Composting also mitigates the amount of waste and generates humus-like compost materials that can be used as fertilizer,” By reducing food waste and composting, we can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. Food loss generates about 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, while using land and water puts increasing pressure on biodiversity.

In order to preserve soil fertility and reduce nutrient losses, organic matter must be present in the soil. Compost is an organic fertilizer that enriches the soil with nutrients and organic matter. A chemical fertilizer could be required to swiftly provide a crop with the requisite nutrients. Chemical fertilizers, in contrast to organic fertilizers, benefit plants right away; organic manures, on the other hand, must first be converted into nutrients before plants can use them. However, organic matter continues to improve soil fertility, soil structure, and water storage capacity while chemical fertilizers are exhausted by the end of the growing season.

According to Tom Veldkamp, in, “The Preparation and Use of Compost” Fresh organic materials and humus make up the organic matter in the soil. Fresh organic debris can include dead animals, animal droppings, dead plants, and more. Soil organisms convert the fresh organic matter into fine organic matter and humus. Humus imparts a black hue to the soil and holds onto moisture and nutrients. It enhances the structure of the soil and increases the soil’s resistance to the erosive effects of wind and rain. As it holds onto water and slowly releases it, extending the amount of time that water is available to the plants and holds onto nutrients and slowly delivers them over a longer time to the plants. Also, compost comprises the three primary nutrients that plants can access after decomposition: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

When compost is extremely beneficial to the soil it is benefiting a farmer’s crop yield. According to M.J. Denney, throughout the article, “Use of Composted Organic Wastes . . . “ Denney stated, “Yield results from the dry season trail showed gradual increase in crop yield as compost application rate was increased from 0 tons per acre to 120 tons per acre of compost application.” The soil benefits from compost in a number of ways that synthetic fertilizer cannot. First, it improves the way water interacts with the soil by adding organic matter. Compost functions as a sponge in sandy soils, holding onto water that would otherwise flow below the reach of plant roots and defending the plant from drought. Compost aids in increasing the soil’s porosity in clay soils, facilitating drainage and preventing waterlogging and brick-like drying out. Additionally, compost inoculates the soil with a large number of advantageous microbes that encourage soil biological activity.  

Most farmers do not understand the concept of composting, while the big farms see the importance of composting and do it every year. Composting is key in producing a better crop yield and getting out what you put into a field of crops. The small farms that don’t compost seem to have lower crop yield and do not even get the same amount of money that they put into a field and find themselves losing crops.

Compost is a mixture of ingredients used as plant fertilizer and to improve soil’s physical, chemical and biological properties. It is commonly prepared by decomposing plant, food waste, recycling organic materials and manure. The resulting mixture is rich in plant nutrients and beneficial organisms, such as bacteria, protozoa, nematodes and fungi. Compost improves soil fertility in gardens, landscaping, horticulture, urban agriculture, and organic farming, reducing dependency on commercial chemical fertilizers. The benefits of compost include providing nutrients to crops as fertilizer, acting as a soil conditioner, increasing the humus or humic acid contents of the soil, and introducing beneficial microbes that help to suppress pathogens in the soil and reduce soil-borne diseases.

During the twentieth century composting has evolved greatly. According to Eliot Epstein in “The Science of Composting”, Epstein explained that composting to many is a simple process. The lack of appreciation for the complexity and involvement of the biological, physical and chemical aspects of composting has resulted in major failings and setbacks. Composting is a biological process that affects and is affected by physical and chemical forces. 

Soil reduction is a major problem throughout the world. The reduction of soil is caused by farms not taking care of it and not replenishing the ground as farmers proceed to take nutrients from grounds each year and the soil can not keep up. Addis Ababa mentioned in “A review on impact of compost on soil properties, water use and crop productivity” that, 

Compost use is one of the most important factors, which contribute to increased productivity and sustainable agriculture. In addition, compost can solve the problem faced by farmers with decreasing fertility of their soil. Due to soil fertility problems, crops returns often decrease and the crops are more susceptible to pest and disease because they are in bad condition.

Compost consists of the relatively stable decomposed organic materials resulting from the accelerated biological degradation of organic materials. Using compost can improve the capacity to produce safe clean green horticultural produce and importantly increase the potential for large scale organic food production.

A huge problem throughout Earth is waste management. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, according to Hector Urquhart’s. Adewale Matthew Taiwo in “Composting as A Sustainable Waste Management Technique in Developing Countries” explained,

Solid waste management is the second most important problem after the water quality in developing countries all over the world. Most of the populace lack access to proper and routine removal of garbage. According to UNEP, disposal of solid wastes is a major issue of concern in less-developed nations due to population explosion, poverty and high urbanization rates combined with ineffective and under-funding by the government to proffer efficient management of waste.

Waste management is all about how to dispose of all the things you don’t want on the farm. Composting is a sustainable waste management practice that converts any volume of accumulated organic waste into a usable product. When organic wastes are broken down by microorganisms in a heat-generating environment, waste volume is reduced, many harmful organisms are destroyed, and a useful, potentially marketable, product is produced. 

R. V. Misra explains how Global interest in organic recycling methods like composting has been rekindled as a result of environmental and soil productivity concerns. Composting is an appealing option for converting organic waste from farms into useful farm resources. For various circumstances, a variety of composting strategies have been utilized. However, there is still a lack of information on recently developed methods for quick composting, particularly those that are suitable for small farmers, and it is necessary to consolidate it. The purpose of the publication is to encourage widespread adoption of on-farm composting methods, with a focus on rapid composting processes, with the ultimate goals of increasing soil productivity in developing nations and protecting the environment from degradation.

Adding compost to your soil can improve soil health and fertility, but too much compost can harm your plants and the environment. Growers have faced problems in recent years due to practices such as deep compost mulch, adding more compost to high tunnels, and growing in raised beds with pure compost. 

According to Natalie Hoidal in, “How to correct problems caused by using too much compost and manure” Hoidal research explains, Agricultural soils with excessive compost applications, particularly manure, tend to develop high levels of nutrients including ammonium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. Moreover, these soils can contain high levels of bicarbonates, carbonates, and hydroxyls. Deficiencies can result from too much of any nutrient.

Calcium, magnesium and potassium can be inhibited if the soil becomes too acidic. Soil alkalinity is associated with high calcium, magnesium, and potassium concentrations. High alkaline soils tend to be high in pH, a measure of how acidic or basic the soil is. Many nutrients become less available in highly alkaline soils. As a result plants may exhibit nutrient deficiencies despite having plenty of nutrients in the soil, due to the decreased availability of these nutrients. When growing in a tunnel, soluble salts can build up in the soil, causing salt toxicity. Manure is generally high in salts and ammoniacal nitrogen, and is not recommended for growing in high tunnels.

The FFTC explained, in the article “Benefits and Drawbacks of Composting” that the product is expensive to transport because it is large and heavy. Compost typically cannot quickly cover the nutrient needs of crops due to its low nutrient value compared to chemical fertilizers and sluggish rate of nutrient release, which leads to some nutrient deficit. Comparatively to chemical fertilizers, compost has a much more varied nutrient makeup. Concerns about probable concentrations of heavy metals and other pollutants in compost, especially mixed municipal solid wastes, may exist among agricultural users. When compost is applied on food crops, contamination risk becomes a significant problem. Composts applied to agricultural soils for an extended period of time or in large quantities have been proven to cause salt, nutrient, or heavy metal buildup and may be harmful to plant development, soil organisms, water quality, and animal and human health.

Given the numerous benefits that compost provides to plants and soils, it is difficult to accept that its use can cause plant damage. Although uncommon, it is possible, especially if the compost is not properly prepared or is not suited to the application. If the compost is used at high rates or with sensitive plants, such as seedlings, the risk of damage increases. When compost harms plants, our first instinct is to blame a contaminant, such as a herbicide. Other factors, however, are more likely to be at work.

High salinity may be the most common cause of composting issues. Plants obtain nutrients from soils in the form of dissolved salts, but a concentration that is too high harms plant roots. Harry Hoitink states, in the article, “Can Compost Damage Plants?” “Salt damage causes the plant to wilt quickly and the leaves to yellow.” High salinity weakens plants and frequently causes root rot, particularly from Phytophthora and Pythium. Soybeans, rhododendrons, and a variety of other plants may be harmed. Although some salts are more harmful than others, the total salt concentration is critical. Because the sensitivity of plants to salinity varies greatly. Although ammonia is a source of nitrogen for plants, high concentrations are toxic. If exposed to high levels, affected plants die overnight. Burning on the margins of young leaves is common at lower levels. Root tips on less sensitive plants turn brown. Azaleas are excellent indicator plants. Composts with a high nitrogen content pose the greatest risk of ammonia toxicity, especially if the nitrogen is in an available form.

The main reason for organic farming is to better the environment. Farmers and gardeners use the practice of composting as a huge part in improving the problems farmers and society are affected by. Robert Pavlis, throughout the article, “Does Composting Contribute to Climate Change?” states, “A compost pile will produce CO2, which increases the CO2 in the air, which in turn results in the warming of our planet.” If a compost pile isn’t aerated, it can emit methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Landfills also emit methane, so they’re not good either. Carbon is an element found in organic matter. When organic matter breaks down, it releases carbon dioxide (CO2). This happens because bacteria break down the organic matter. Bacteria release CO2 as they do this. The amount of CO2 released depends on how fast the bacteria can break down the organic matter and how much oxygen is around.


Ayilara, M., Olanrewaju, O., Babalola, O., & Odeyemi, O. (2020). Waste Management through Composting: Challenges and Potentials. Sustainability, 12(11), 4456. MDPI.

Behera, S., & Samal, K. (2022). Sustainable approach to manage solid waste through biochar assisted composting. Energy Nexus, 7, 100121.

Nickel, M., De Smet, P., Tersmette, T., & Veldkamp, T. (n.d.). Agrodok 8 The preparation and use of compost

Golabi, M. H., Denney, M. J., & Iyekar, C. (2007). Value of Composted Organic Wastes As an Alternative to Synthetic Fertilizers For Soil Quality Improvement and Increased Yield. Compost Science & Utilization, 15(4), 267–271.

Epstein, E. (2017). The Science of Composting. In Google Books. CRC Press.  i=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=what+is+composting&ots=KjwLmbR93C&sig=o9_ Y-XxNYCaZYlL5_kXIzNc8Z5E#v=onepage&q=what%20is%20composting&f=false

A review on impact of compost on soil properties, water use and crop … (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2022, from publication/329655248_A_review_on_impact_of_compost_on_soil_properties_water_use_and_crop_productivity/links/5c13adf2a6fdcc494ff3cbc1/A-review-on-impact-of-compost-on-soil-properties-water-use-and-crop-productivity.pdf?origin=publication_detail 

Taiwo, A. M. (2011). Composting as A Sustainable Waste Management Technique in Developing Countries. Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 4(2), 93–102.

Misra, R. V., Roy, R. N., & Hiraoka, H. (1970, January 1). On-farm composting methods. VTechWorks Home. Retrieved November 9, 2022, from

How to correct problems caused by using too much compost and manure. (n.d.). specialty- crops/correct-too-much-compost-and-manure

Benefits and Drawbacks of Composting. (n.d.). Food and Fertilizer Technology Center. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from detail /1431 #:~:text=Long%2Dterm%20and%2For%20heavy

Can Compost Damage Plants? | Whatcom County | Washington State University

 (n.d.). Whatcom County. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from 


Pavlis, R. (2019, December 11). Does Composting Contribute to Climate Change? Garden Myths.  change/#:~:text=In%20simple%20terms%2C%20a%20compost

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4 Responses to Research-soulpond

  1. Hey Professor, may I have a general feedback on my research paper. Can you see if anything sticks out at you that needs to be fixed.

  2. davidbdale says:

    Soulpond, I’ve done what I think needs to be done to clean up your block quotes, but I can’t be certain I caught them all.

    This paragraph, for example, with its surprising capital A in the middle, might indicate the beginning of another long quote. Your late feedback request means I’ll have to spend considerable time and effort verifying that the writing that purports to be your own is in fact your own. So . . .

    Please take the time to verify your quotes and cite anything you borrowed from others. And, also please clean up the formatting on your References list. I’m having trouble telling where one ends and the next begins.

    The details are impressive! I haven’t read carefully for persuasiveness. Not yet graded. Waiting on your verification that it’s ready for a careful read.

  3. I believe that I have fixed everything that I have to fix. Thank you professor!

  4. davidbdale says:

    I’ve left you feedback in two locations questioning your use of sources, SoulPond. Please address those questions.

    As a first draft, if you had sought feedback at the Hypothesis stage, I would have objected that your essay is WAY too broad and in its first draft form, not at all persuasive. It doesn’t even appear to want to be persuasive, citing as it does so many unrefuted disadvantages of compost. You may have completely misunderstood the purpose of the Rebuttal Argument, which is to demolish—not embrace—the point of view of (in this case) a detractor of compost as a strategy.

    The first two-thirds of your argument suffers from repetition (probably because you covered the same material in your Definition and Causal arguments), while the third third sounds as if you want to abandon the first two-thirds as a lost cause.

    If you have time to revise at all, make clear declarations early, late, and all the way through, that despite its imperfections composting is the best we we have to save topsoil, produce food sustainably, and reduce the environmental damages caused by agribusiness.

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