Composting, the green guardian of the eco-conscious, is celebrated for its waste-reducing magic and soil-nourishing prowess. However, as I have just returned from purging an infestation of fruit flies and other critters from the ANTrepreneur Center’s compost bins, I can tell you that every hero has its kryptonite. Within this piece, we will explore the less illuminated aspects of composting, shedding light on issues such as bug invasions and other challenges that often remain concealed within the world of composting.
Why Should the Business World Care About Composting?
To begin, let’s first establish what composting is and how it can serve as an effective waste disposal method for businesses. From a business perspective, composting is a sustainable management process that involves the decomposition of organic materials into nutrient-rich compost. This practice involves the controlled breakdown of organic matter, such as food scraps and yard waste, through the activities of microorganisms, heat, and aeration.
Composting can be especially useful for entrepreneurs as composting organic waste can lead to cost savings. Less funds will be spent on waste disposal fees and entrepreneurs can avoid possible penalties for exceeding waste disposal limits. This can inevitably lead to improvements of the overall financial sustainability of their businesses. Implementing sustainable business practices is also a powerful selling point as environmentally conscious consumers will be more inclined to make purchases. Additionally, entrepreneurs can sell the compost they produce to local gardeners, landscapers, and agricultural businesses. This can generate additional revenue and has the ability to become quite a profitable part of the business.
In essence, composting can be a practical and responsible strategy that not only enhances business operations and expands the reach of the business, but also contributes to a greener and more sustainable future.
However… Hands Will Get Dirty
Now, subsequent to describing all the glories of composting, I think it’s crucial to discuss the not so dazzling responsibilities that come with composting. Composting by design is an open invitation to a myriad of pesky actors, including insects. While most are hardworking decomposers, a few unruly party-crashers can trash your composting bins. Despite being someone who advocates for effective waste management and sustainable business practices, I had yet to see these systems in practice.
I walked into our kitchen one day and decided I should take our compost bins to the large organic waste bins behind the Paul Merage School of Business. Upon opening the bins, I realized that these month-old bins hadn’t ever been taken out. At this point there was a fruit fly infestation. I’ve always been really uncomfortable with bugs, so that’s why composting has always made me sort of apprehensive. It’s really easy to simply tell people to start composting, without the experience of employing it yourself. Something you have to develop is an acceptance of these bugs. These decomposers are actually crucial to the process, and other creepy-crawlies you might recognize won’t hurt you. Most people, myself included, feel unsettled by insects simply because of their appearance, but it’s important to remember that they are members of the environment just as we are. It might take some time, but I already feel more comfortable with the existence of these critters in my compost bins.
Can Infestations Be Prevented?
Compost bin infestations can absolutely be avoided. Maintaining the right balance of green and brown materials in your compost is important for preventing bug infestations and promoting a healthy composting process. What are considered green and brown materials?
Green materials include items like vegetable and fruit peels, grass clippings, and fresh plant trimmings. These materials are high in nitrogen and provide protein for the microorganisms responsible for decomposition. To prevent infestations however, it’s essential to not overdo the green materials. Brown materials consist of dried leaves, straw, cardboard, and newspaper. Such materials are high in carbon and act as a source of energy for the microorganisms. Brown materials absorb excess moisture and prevent bug infestations.
Some other strategies to prevent the “bad” insects are to make sure the cover of your compost bins fit well. This prevents pests from entering without approval. Not overfilling and regular monitoring are perhaps the most important. At the ANTrepreneur Center, the inevitable downfall of our compost bins was the fact that we didn’t work together as a team to make sure that they remained in healthy conditions. Taking out bins before they get too full or before insects have time to reproduce and infiltrate is the best preventative measure.
To end with, composting is undeniably a powerful ally in the battle against waste. Yet, as I have learned from my experience with composting at the ANTrepreneur Center, no hero is invulnerable, and composting is no exception. Bug invasions and other challenges often lurk in the shadows of the composting process, making it essential to be aware of the less illuminated aspects of this eco-friendly practice.
Want to see an Instagram reel, where I explain how to compost properly at the ANTrepreneur Center? Click here.
These challenges may include unwelcome critters like fruit flies and maggots which can become party-crashers in your composting bins if not managed properly. While the idea of embracing insects may initially make some of us uncomfortable, it’s vital to recognize their role in the composting ecosystem. Over time, one can develop an appreciation for the vital work these decomposers carry out. Overall, the minor inconveniences and challenges that come with composting pale in comparison to the remarkable benefits it brings to our environment and businesses. Composting is not just a sustainable waste management process; it’s a responsible strategy that can enhance business operations, save costs, generate revenue, and contribute to a greener, more sustainable future.
So, even as we acknowledge the less illuminated aspects of composting, let us remember the greater good it serves and to continue on our path toward a more eco-conscious and sustainable world. Embracing these challenges, just like we embrace the decomposers in our compost bins, can lead us to a brighter and more environmentally responsible future.