Composting is the natural process of decomposition of food waste. It recycles organic material into a rich soil amendment known as compost. For any household, locally owned business, or institution that produces food waste, the organic material can be decomposed into high-quality compost. Food waste is a raw composting agent that is high in moisture content and low in physical structure. Recycling food waste by composting is a way to conserve water and reduce the impact of gas emissions from landfills.
Garden waste and food scraps make up more than 28% of what we throw away. Consequently, Agriculture is a major consumer of water in most countries and while irrigation systems are effective, they are time-consuming for farmers to manage and costly to create. Composting is a great solution to recycling organic waste, conserving water, and protecting the environment. It conserves water by increasing soil organic matter, which reduces bulk density.
Composting items consist of bread, coffee filters, eggshells, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, bread, meats, grain, unbleached paper napkins, and newspapers. While non-biodegradable items such as foil, plastic utensils, plastic bags, drinking draws, bottles, polystyrene, chemicals, and condiment packages should be avoided. There are a variety of ways to make a compost pile, but to start the journey, a few recommended tools to be used are a machete or square-point shovels, pitchforks, and water hoses with a spray head.
The first step is the preparation of composting elements. A dry, shady spot is needed for the compost bin or pile while adding brown and green materials. Composting elements that are large must be shredded or chopped, while dry materials must be moistened before being added. Once the compost pile is fully established, add vegetable waste and fruit under 10 inches of composting material.
The second step is to mix fresh food waste with a bulking agent so that the bulking agent can absorb excess moisture. Recommended bulking agents should have high C: N ratios like yard waste and sawdust. To avoid the smell of ammonia which food waste is highly susceptible to, an aerated pile should be free of standing water and aerobic.
The third step is turning or mixing compost with water to maintain the compost. Composting usually takes two months to two years to be ready.
Composting is a safe, energy-saving alternative to landfills. It can reduce gas emissions, and help to create a sustainable, more energy-efficient society.
Learn more about this from our sources below!
University of Georgia – Food Waste Composting: Institutional and Industrial Application
Natural Resources Defense Council – Composting 101
Environmental Protection Agency – Composting at Home