What is Compost?
Compost (/ˈkɒmpɒst/ or /ˈkɒmpoʊst/) is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming. At the simplest level, the process of composting simply requires making a heap of wetted organic matter known as green waste (leaves, food waste) and waiting for the materials to break down into humus after a period of weeks or months. Modern, methodical composting is a multi-step, closely monitored process with measured inputs of water, air, and carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials. The decomposition process is aided by shredding the plant matter, adding water, and ensuring proper aeration by regularly turning the mixture. Worms and fungi further break up the material. Bacteria requiring oxygen to function (aerobic bacteria) and fungi manage the chemical process by converting the inputs into heat, carbon dioxide, and ammonium. Ammonium (NH4) in the form of nitrogen used by plants. When available ammonium is not used by plants it is further converted by bacteria into nitrates (NO3) through the process of nitrification.
Compost is rich in nutrients. It is used in gardens, landscaping, horticulture, and agriculture. The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil. In ecosystems, compost is useful for erosion control, land and stream reclamation, wetland construction, and as landfill cover (see compost uses). Organic ingredients intended for composting can alternatively be used to generate biogas through anaerobic digestion.
Texans throw away enough grass clippings each year to fill 100,000 garbage trucks. Link them bumper to bumper, and they’d stretch from Beaumont to El Paso. The price tag for sending just grass clippings to the landfill is about $40 million a year. Disposing of all organic materials in Texas landfills costs customers more than $140 million and consumes more than 15 million cubic yards of space.
Historical records of composting go back to Marcus Cato, a Roman scientist, and farmer. Cato believed in the use of compost as the primary soil builder. Compost is a cure-all for soil problems on the farm, in the garden, and on the lawn. It feels good, smells good, and IS good.
Benefits of Compost:
- Improves water infiltration and drought tolerance
- Reduces fertilizer requirements
- Reduces soil erosion from runoff
- Improves nutrient content of the soil
- Improves root growth and yields
- Protects plants from disease
- Improves overall soil structure
Right Place For Your Yard Waste
If you are unable to compost, don't worry. The City of Midland provides a disposal area for yard waste to alleviate the overfilling of neighborhood dumpsters. The disposal area is located at:
Citizens Collection Station
4100 Smith Road,
By the Air Park, North of the Claydesta & East of the Post Office (No Commercial Use)
Items accepted include grass clippings, leaves, twigs, branches, and limbs. Please do not include tree stumps or construction debris. Yard waste is ground into mulch that aids in water conservation in our parks and other city facilities. It is also available to be picked up for free by residents. You must load it on your own.
Finally, please note that there is surveillance at this location to deter illegal dumping. It is imperative that users place ONLY yard waste at the brush site. If there is anything other than the above-listed yard waste, you may be cited and fined.
The other option for yard waste is the City of Midland Landfill on Garden City Highway, five miles east of Midland. Both locations take commercial and residential dumping of yard waste. There is a fee.
Click here for a list of all Recycle Locations.