About a Third of all food is producedAround the world, there is a lot of waste. Most of it ends in landfills where it becomes a source methane, which is a greenhouse gas. 25 timesMore potent than carbon dioxide Eliminating all waste is the ultimate solutionThere will always be some. Composting is an option that almost anyone can use.
Composting converts rotting trash into a valuable soil additive that helps plants flourish. It is often called black gold by farmers.
Experts believe that composting can reduce trash and even help combat climate change, regardless of whether it is done in your own backyard or at a local facility.
It’s not difficult. It’s easy. It’s not without its mistakes, but they are easily learned from and corrected, says Bob Rynk. The Composting HandbookSUNY Cobleskill is also home to a professor emeritus.
What happens in a compost heap?
Small-scale farming turns food into compost. microorganismsLike bacteria, fungi and protozoa.
A compost pile can make you a compost pile. microbe farmer. Rhonda Sherman, a North Carolina State University composting expert, says that you are managing microbes. What do microbes require? They require the same things as us. They need shelter, water, food, and air.
A compost pile in your yard or neighborhood should contain three things on a small scale: food scraps and water.
Yard trimmings are often called browns, and they are high-in carbon. The highest amount of nitrogen is found in food scraps, which are called greens. A compost pile should have twice the amount of browns than greens.
Browns prevent a pile from becoming a messy mess. They are also bulkier and make it easier for oxygen to move around the pile. This oxygen is used by tiny microbes to decompose food waste in a process called aerobic digestibility.
The accumulation of trash in landfills blocks oxygen from reaching the food. Instead, it is broken down by MicrobesThey can survive without oxygen. These microbes produce methane through anaerobic digestion.
Rynkthey, however, say that as aerobic microbes begin to break down waste, Rynkthey release carbon dioxide. This is also a greenhouse gases, but less potent than methane.
The microbes also emit heat, which can reach over 130 F in a well-managed pile. This heat can kill pathogens.
After several months, the fresh compost is in a slower stage of decomposition. It is rich with microorganisms, nutrients, such as potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.
How to make a pile that is successful
You should mix the pile at home every so often and keep it damp. These steps will help you to keep your pile moist at home. You can speed up the process of decay. The stirring allows oxygen to reach all nooks and crevices. The dampness insures survival of microorganisms. Moisture is vital for your health.
In fact, backyard compost piles that are too dry are the most common reason they fail. Don’t drown the pile. Adding more greens that are moist may suffice. Spraying water lightly over the pile will help if it is not.
Sherman suggests that you take a sponge and wring it out to see its only slightly damp texture. It’s moist, but it isn’t dripping everywhere.
Sherman advises people to keep compost bins at least three feet high to accumulate heat, but to keep them shaded so they don’t dry out.
People believe they have to place it in the sun to heat up. This is a myth! She says that the microorganisms heat the bin materials.
Some food scraps are not suitable for composting in the backyard. It is usually safe to toss vegetable and fruit remains in the compost pile. However, it is more dangerous to toss uncooked meat or dairy in the pile as they can attract pests. They also have higher levels of fats, which takes longer to breakdown. It is not unusual to see rodents living in compost bins. However, they can be turned regularly to prevent them from creating nests. Compost can also be made in enclosed bins.
The Environmental Protection Agency is a more detailed listThese are items that should not go in a compost pile. It includes items such as yard trimmings treated using pesticides that could kill microorganisms.
Some communities now offer food scrap bins in addition to recycling and trash cans. Food scraps collected at the municipal level usually go to an industrial composter. Items are often shredded at arrival and then processed at high temperatures. This level of composting may be used in Large piles and silos. Municipalities accept more scraps than you can put in your backyard because they send food waste to industrial compost plants. Regulations vary from one city to the next.
Many urban gardens and farmers markets will accept compost if you don’t have a garden or access to food scraps services.
Sherman suggests that you put food scraps in the freezer if you are concerned about the smell of compost being kept on your countertop or in your kitchen. You can put a halt to the decomposition process by freezing your scraps and prevent odors from developing.
How can you compost with worms
Vermicomposting (composting with worms) is an even better soil enhancer. Worms can digest food scraps and produce castings rich in plant nutrients. Researchers have also discovered that vermicompost contains living microorganisms. Protect crops from common diseasesReduce the use of pesticides and herbicides.
Even though earthworms can sometimes be found at the bottom of a compost heap, they should not go in a large backyard compost container.
Earthworms don’t have lungs. They breathe through their skin. This keeps them from drying out and dying. Although a compost bin should be moist, it is not usually moist enough to allow earthworms to survive.
Sherman suggests that worms be kept in smaller containers, no more than two feet high. Because they can thrive in smaller spaces, earthworms are easily contained in enclosed bins under a kitchen sink, or on balconies. This makes vermicomposting a viable option for people who don’t have a backyard. Tutorial by the Natural Resources Defense Council HereThis video shows you how to make a worm bin at your home.
What do you do with biodegradable/compostable food packaging?
These products, such as packaging material and utensils that are labeled “compostable” or “biodegradable”, are growing in popularity, but they are intended to be processed at an industrial composting plant.
Eco-Products’ president Ian Jacobson says that while his company sold 200 products back in 2010, Eco-Products now offers over 450. Anything can be compostable-labeled containers, including paper and sugarcane-based. bagassebioplastic, which is plastic made of plants like corn, to be used. Some, but certainly not allThe following certificates are issued by the Biodegradable Products Institute, (BPI).The largest certifier of compostables is, which tests products for their ability to be processed at commercial facilities.
Many takeout food containers can be made from compostable papers. Sherman says that if you simply toss the container into your compost bin, it will just sit there. Microbes will have a better chance of breaking down the container if it is broken into smaller pieces (no more than 2 inches).
It may not be able to break down as easily even if it is properly managed. A well-managed compost pile in the backyard can reach high temperatures. However, industrial facilities will have higher temperatures that will cause material to break down more quickly. Sherman also pointed out that compostable paper products such as newspaper and towels can become mushy in a compost pile, which prevents aeration.
Bioplastics packaging for food packaging cannot be composted in a household bin. They often have strong polymer bonds and can only be demolished in an industrial facility. Some bioplastics are toxic chemical additives that can make them stronger or waterproof.
Learn more about bioplastics.
How does composting benefit the environment?
The U.S. produced almost 300 million tons of trash in 2018, or 4.9 pounds per person. Food was second in waste after paper products. It accounted for about 21 percent of all trash and increased the size of landfills. 34 percentMethane emissions
Composting can be a great way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if done on a large-scale. San Francisco, which introduced mandatory city-wide composting in 2009 has been able divert more than 80 percent of its waste away from landfills each year. 2.5 million tonnes in total
One estimateAccording to the Natural Resources Defense Council, San Francisco’s composting laws resulted in a reduction of approximately 90,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. This is about the same as the amount of carbon dioxide that was released by about 900,000. 20,000 passenger vehicles.
Composted soil is not only less likely to be dumped, but it also helps reduce landfill emissions. The organic matter in compost can improve the soil’s health by being layered on top of soil, whether it is in a garden or on a farmer’s farm. It helps to bind soil particles together. Holds more water. Better soil supports plant growth which can help to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A stronger, nutrient-richer soil can also reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizer. These chemicals are polluting themselves and are often manufactured with destructive mining practices that leave a large carbon footprint.
The only downside to composting is the ick factor. Sherman suggests that you don’t worry about that.
It isn’t gross, it’s clean. Every other week, I go to the backyard compost bin. It takes me three minutes compost. I just try to encourage people. It’s so easy to do.