Composting is the process of converting organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable fertiliser that may be used to enhance soil and plants. This natural process accelerates decomposition by providing an ideal environment for bacteria, fungi, and other decomposing creatures (such as worms, sowbugs, and nematodes) to operate. Compost is made out of decomposing materials that resemble rich garden soil. This new type of soil has a lot of nutrients and may be used in gardening, horticulture, and agriculture.
“Can we make cleaning tools that are just recyclable and zero waste?”
Matt Guest, co-founder of Composty, a sustainable composting company in the UK, that sells eco-friendly and fully compostable cleaning products. They sell multi-use sponges and dishcloths that are compostable and wrapped in compostable packaging. He started his business with his wife to preserve the planet for his children and after multiple occurrences where eco-friendly products were not as eco-friendly as they seemed.
“We're getting frustrated. We're buying sponges that said they're compostable but ignoring the plastic packaging, the glue used in the sponges had plastic in them that was harmful to compost. So we thought, well, we're gonna put this right. And so we made a range of tools, a range of sponges and cloths where we make sure that they were 100% compostable because there's nothing better than taking from nature but also then giving back to nature.”
Composting can lead to less food and garden waste disposal at landfill sites while producing healthier crops. As a result, it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by creating healthier carbon storage. Composty is a business that sells compostable cleaning tools to be used for different purposes and once it is no longer usable, it can be used for compost rather than being thrown away. Guest explains why he and his wife started their business:
“We wanted to have something that is different to what everyone else does but does the best for the planet that it can. And trying to make a range of compostable products entirely compostable isn't easy. We want to do what's best. We don't want to produce products for another family or other families that people look at products that claim to be compostable but had plastic or polyester. That's not what we're about. So we wanted to make it sort of 100% ethical company that allowed us to make products that were the best for the planet.”
Composting is one method that can be used to combat climate change by reducing plastic waste. Composty's mission is to minimise plastic waste across the UK by providing homeowners with a greener and more economical alternative to the market's environmentally friendly cleaning solutions. Greenpeace and Everyday Plastics surveyed UK households in 2022 where they found that over one week under 6.5 million pieces of plastic packaging waste were thrown away. The danger with so much plastic waste is that it can disrupt habitats and natural processes, limiting ecosystems' ability to adapt to climate change and directly hurting the livelihoods, food production capacities, and social well-being of millions of people.
It is why Guest thinks that composting should be, “more widespread in the UK, we’re doing ourselves a good service moving forward and having local compost bins, of course- it sort of reduces the carbon footprint of the waste that we’re throwing away.” The UK has a variety of initiatives in place but is not as strict as Guest would like.
“In the UK, of course, we've got food waste collections and I think it's hit and miss, with local authorities. I’m actually in the Dudley local authority and there is no food waste collection, whereas if you just go down the road to some other local authorities, they do food waste collection. So it is hit and miss in terms of what service you get here and it does depend on what local authority you're in within the UK, but it is certainly a start.”
For it to become widespread in the UK, Guest believes that a better starting point should be education.
“Composting should be taught from a young age. It’s one of those things as a kid. Certainly, when I was at school, you were aware of it, but you never learned how to do it or what you can put into it. It's so beneficial. I think they learn a lot about recycling at school and I think that's good. Recycling is beneficial and important, but there's no better way of disposing of a product than to leave it back to nature. I think there should be a lot more done in schools to learn about that. ”
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