lets talk waste. Waste is used to describe:
materials not needed after primary production:
the unwanted byproduct of a process:
Products no longer needed:
Objects that are now defunct:
Examples include municipal solid waste (household trash/refuse), hazardous waste, wastewater (such as sewage, which contains bodily wastes (feces and urine) and surface runoff), radioactive waste, and others.
Waste is often considered worthless but this is usually not the case. It very much depends on the type of waste. And the waste disposal system favoured.

We could actually compost most of our waste… if it is the right sort! Turn our rubbish into plant food

Disposing Of Biodegradable Waste

Composting accelerates the natural process of biodegrading or rotting down organic waste material into a rich soil or compost. Its a great and  sustainable way to deal with our waste.

As I’m sure you know biodegradable waste does not do well in the unnatural conditions of landfill. It bubbles away producing methane which adds to the greenhouse effect. Composting biodegradable waste on the other hand produces a nutrient rich material that can be used to grow more food.

How It Works

All natural (as oppose to synthetic) materials do eventually biodegrade or rot. Composting speeds up that process

Useful composting information

Biodegradable –Biodegradable products break down through a naturally occurring microorganism, such as fungi or bacteria over a period of time. More about biodegrading HERE
Compostable – To be classed compostable, items must biodegrade within a certain amount of time, the resulting biomass must be free of toxins, able to sustain plant life and be used as an organic fertilizer or soil additive.
Composting Standards For a man-made product to be legally sold as compostable, it has to meet rigorous composting standards

Home Or Industrial Compostable?

Home Composting
Composting is usually done on a small scale and most people will be familiar with the concept of a backyard heap or garden compost where household waste is rotted down into garden mulch.
Industrial composting
However large-scale schemes are becoming increasingly popular. In the UK communities band together to compost a whole street is worth of waste. Even city councils are getting in on the act.
These larger projects are sometimes called industrial composting

The difference is is that industrial composting is a lot hotter and can work more quickly.

Home Compostable?

Many products ( especially compostable plastics), have been tested under industrial composting conditions. Therefore, while a product might be classed as both biodegradable and compostable, it might not break down in a backyard compost bin.
That said I have composted many such products in my own bin.

Compostable Trash

If every bit of trash was compostable you could get out of that destructive relationship with your landfill bin. Everlasting litter would be a thing of the past. Councils could stop paying a fortune to landfill trash. Nutrients could be returned to the soil. So in addition to food waste we need to be composting lots of our other trash INCLUDING……

Sometime you need a disposable and when you do it has to be compostable.  Here are biodegradable bags for the butcher, paper cups for the office party and plastic free tampons. To name but a few. And, yes, apparently you can compost biodegradable tampons. No I’m not sure how I feel about that either!

 Compostable Plastics
Compostable plastics come in various forms and could replace most non biodegradable plastics. You can read all about compostable plastics here

Composting At Home

Many  treat it as some kind of arcane science, but basically you pile your biological waste into a compost bin, keep it warm and it rots down naturally into a rich soil or compost.
Great Reasons to Compost  Waste
You can use a compost bin  for garden litter which saves on boring trips to the tip.
You can dispose of your own kitchen waste which it gobbles up by the bucket load.
You can keep biodegradable waste out of landfill and cut your carbon footprint.
Cuts our dependance on waste collection services by taking responsibility for our own waste.
Cut bin liners. No need  to wrap my mushy waste as it all goes straight in the compost bin. Read living without bin liners  for more information.

Which Bin For Your Home

A run down on the bins available to the back yard composter. Everything from the simple heap to a bin that never needs emptying, bins you can keep in the kitchen to wormeries. Read MORE HERE
But you haven’t got room for a bin. Think outside the box!
Case Study – Friends Who Compost. Get a mate with a bin Read more here.

Composting On A Larger Scale

Case Study – A Cafe
Cute Boscastle National Trust Cafe uses compostable disposables and composts them. Read more HERE

Other options include Community Composting
Community composting is where local community groups share the use and management of a common composting facility.
And Municipal or Industrial Comosting
Read more HERE
How councils compost on a large scale – read more HERE

Keeping Your Waste Sweet
Bokashi Bins are not strictly composting but pickling. This allows you to store compostable food waste for long periods of time. Read more HERE

Want to know more about plastic? Read up here
See our big list of plastic types here
Read about disposing of plastic here.

(Visited 98 times since January 1st 2018. 2 visits today)

2 thoughts on “Hot to Rot? A Composting Introduction

Leave a Reply