COMPOSTING DEFINED

Composting is the practice of mixing various organic materials together in a bin, heap or long rows to create an environment for controlled biological decomposition. If properly aerated, microorganisms consume the material and leave behind a nutrient-rich organic material. This organic matter has the unique ability to improve the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of soils. It contains plant nutrients but is typically not characterized as a fertilizer and is more commonly referred to as humus, mulch or compost. Ultimately it can be used as a soil additive that helps stimulate plant growth and improve the soil’s condition. The compost process simply speeds up the natural process of biodegradation that occurs with all organic materials.


IDEAL COMPOSTING CONDITIONS

Temperature

Commercial facilities regularly turn or aerate their piles and monitor the internal temperature to assure it is between 105° and 145°F.

Air Flow

Regulating airflow to the heaps helps maintain proper temperature and assures that the microorganisms receive enough oxygen to survive and reproduce.

Moisture Content

As with air, the microorganisms require adequate moisture levels to survive. Commercial facilities regularly monitor the moisture content of their piles and add more if necessary.

Balanced Mixture

Proper composting requires a balance between nitrogen and carbon containing materials. Compost facilities have several different sources from which to pull to manage this balance, but typically the mixture is made up of yard trimmings and food residuals.

Typical Composting Time Frame

Varies greatly depending upon the facility and what is being decomposed, but ranges from 70 to 180 days.

COMPOSTING FACTS

• Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers
• Enables the restoration of wetlands
• Facilitates reforestation
• Helps with the revitalization of habitats that have been damaged or contaminated
• Facilitates greater production of agricultural crops
• Helps prevent pests and plant diseases
• Economical replacement for soil contaminated by hazardous waste
• Provide cost savings by reducing waste hauling expenses while generating nutrient-rich organic material

LANDFILL PROBLEM

Each year the U.S. continues to generate more trash while limited landfill space continues to decline. This problem could be easily addressed through composting. Nearly two thirds of U.S municipal solid waste (MSW) is organic and could be composted while approximately 70% of U.S. MSW is sent to landfills or incinerated.

Approximately 2/3 of the Trash Generated In the U.S. is Organic and could be composted

Approximately 70% of Trash is Sent to Landfills or Incinerated