Industrial food waste, or “set it and forget it” compost? That’s the question a pair of ecologists set out to answer in 1997, in Área de Conservación Guanacastea, a Costa Rican nature preserve. Upworthy reports that Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs arranged for an orange juice company to deposit 12,000 tons of their orange pulp and peels in a deforested area close to the preserve.
When a graduate student of Janzen’s went to locate the marker that he’d placed by the orange deposit ten years prior, he found he was unable because the area had become completely overgrown with vegetation. The waste had, over time, become a rich compost that spread out to fertilize nearby plants, which encouraged biodiversity that even surprised researchers.
With all the compostable waste that currently goes to fertilizing…well, dumps, large swaths of deforested land could be enhanced to regrow much more rapidly than if left to their own devices. We’d wager your local juice spot would be more than willing to donate their fruit and vegetable waste (if they don’t already) if this story revs your composting engine and makes your garden hungry.