Composts are good for the soil

Published in the dossier of April 2018

Organic matter (nutrients and humus) is an essential element for the fertility of soils. It contributes to their balance and long-term maintenance. 100% mineral fertilization nourishes plants for the year but gradually impoverishes the soil. On the contrary, organic fertilization nurtures soils, which nourish plants in the long term.

According to GisSol*, soil degradation affects 33 million hectares in Europe alone, i.e. 4% of arable land. This fact is explained by the erosion and depletion of the organic matter in the planet’s soils, partly due to certain farming practices — repeated ploughing and the intensive use of artificial mineral fertilizers

The regular input of composts to depleted soil, combined with agro-ecological farming practices, has become a credible alternative to their restoration. It also limits the use of artificial fertilizers, primarily phosphorus and potash, which are incidentally natural resources to be preserved.

The different urban composts produced using urbanites’ organic waste products (OWPs, see main article) therefore make an invaluable contribution. Cities produce 1.3 billion metric tons of solid municipal waste each year — a volume of 2.2 billion is expected as of 2025 — almost half of which is considered to be OWPs, according to a World Bank report in 2016*.

The sector is getting organized. Health and environmental standards are being put in place, regulatory factors that will allow it to really take off before too long, thanks to high-performance composting platforms, for the good of the planet.

*Source “Sustainable Financing and Policy Models for Municipal Composting,” 2016, World Bank Group.