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  • By Inge Bremer

Soil is a major store of carbon so turn that waste matter into compost

The humble compost bin

So far, soil carbon is largely being ignored by climate policy makers and analysts. With regard to CO2 sequestration in soils, organic agriculture can achieve approx. 560 kg/ha.year, or 0.056kg/m2/year with a potential of even 670kg/ha/year.

Organic matter types that have undergone some microbial digestion, like compost, are good at producing high, long term soil carbon accumulation. Soil carbon increases roughly by 50% when well cured organic compost is applied.

A compost bin of 240 litres, filled up several times a year, can render approx. 40 kg of compost. With this you can cover approx. 40m2 of garden beds.The vermicast from a 70 litre worm farm can cover approx. the same area.

Soil is a major store of carbon, containing three times as much carbon as the atmosphere, and five times as much as forests. About 60% of this is in the form of organic matter in the soil. The large size of this store means that soil carbon changes (like by applying compost or vermicast) can have significant effects on the level of atmospheric CO2. Each 1% increase in average soil organic carbon levels could in principle reduce atmospheric CO2 by up to 2%.

So every little compost bin and worm farm counts!

If we do not compost, and put food scraps into the general waste, which goes to landfills, this creates methane, which is 25 times as bad as carbon dioxide.

Information sourced from the UK Soil Association:

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