Soil sinks, or how compost captures carbon
We all know how bad emissions are, how they’re trapping way too much heat in the atmosphere and how that’s leading to some pretty drastic consequences. What we’ve released has already had devastating impacts and made it pretty clear that not only do we need to stop emitting them, we need to remove what's already up there.
This is called “carbon sequestration” and it is way easier said than done. To emit greenhouse gasses, all we need to do is set a lump of coal on fire, but putting it back in the ground easily, affordably and at a large scale is proving to be much harder.
If only there was a cheap, easy, affordable way to capture and store carbon long-term … oh wait, there is!
Compost as a carbon sink
New research and case studies are increasingly finding all our carbon sequestration needs lie right below our feet in the soil. There is four times are much carbon stored in the soil than in all the world’s vegetation but with intensive agriculture, we’ve been releasing it all into the air. So, how do we get it back in?
Only by restoring soil health can we increase the carbon stored in it and there is no better way to do this than by applying compost. A recent case study found that measuring carbon stored in compost-applied soil was “like looking for bricks in a haystack.”
How it works
The science behind soil sinks is fascinating, way more so than just some fancy filters. Healthy soil is full of fungi and microorganisms that actually eat the carbon that comes from organic matter. As they are digested, the carbon molecules (called "humus polymers") become increasingly stable, meaning they won’t leak back into the air.
Eventually, they get so stable and strong, they even attract atmospheric carbon molecules into the soil! It’s like a soil carbon party and everyone’s invited!
And to reintroduce the initial carbon that kick-starts the whole process - just add compost!
Why it’s so great
So not only does compost prevent organic waste from going to landfill, build communities, create a high-value fertiliser and restore soil health, it can also literally suck carbon out of the air. And people still wonder why we love it so much!
That same study found that if we did one application of compost to 75% of global grasslands, we could completely prevent the climate crisis from escalating.
Okay, okay, so that amount is equal to 2.7 billion hectares which is pretty massive, but if we all composted we could easily reach it. Compost is incredibly low cost and accessible to everyone, and with our technology, it'll be efficient and easy as well.