Many people are interested in looking at composting at home or via a large industrial composter, so what are some top tips you can utilize when starting your journey?
Top five tips for composting include, deciding whether you will compost at home or via an industrial composter; researching what type of composting is for you; understanding what can be composted; having an idea of what you will do with the resulting fertilizer and understand where your composter will live.
What Is Composting?
So, you’re interested in learning how to compost or starting your own worm farm? Firstly, it’s important to have a basic understanding of composting before making a decision to start the journey.
Composting is rewarding but does require work and commitment. It also requires certain conditions in order to be effective as the microbes and fungi are what break down the items being composted.
The types of materials in the pile and the size as well as water, air and temperature all are important for composting. Home composting is for smaller batches and industrial composting is for large amounts of compost as it’s much more controlled and can take larger amounts.
The composting process includes:
- Choosing where to dispose of your compostable materials i.e. worm farm/home composter or industrial composting facility
- Layers in the composter are to be alternated (different matter, layered)
- Layers added until the composter is full
- Maintain composter – home composting must be added to and turned, whereas, industrial composters are maintained with controls
- Harvest compost.
When composting compostable plastic and other materials, you can do this at home but in smaller quantities. For bulk amounts of compostable bags, they are best sent to an industrial composter as they are set up perfectly with the right temperature, moisture levels, air and other important factors for decomposition.
Without these strict measures, home composting and worm farms do take longer to decompose this plastic. Home composters and worm farms also can’t take anything containing meat, fish or dairy as they will not only smell, but attract insects and vermin.
Is It Easy To Compost At Home?
Home composting is a possibility for anyone who is willing to create and maintain a worm farm or home composter. There are rules to composting and it’s important to understand these rules, which include what can go into a composter, how much quantity can be in a composter or worm farm and how to maintain it. This includes other materials, water, oxygen, temperature and any insects or worms you require.
It’s important to firstly understand the composting options available to you. This includes a commercial or industrial facility, a home composter or a worm farm. All can take the same materials but are different in some respects.
Essentially, composting is a process that will breakdown renewable or organic materials back into their natural state. The matter is broken down through the presence of worms, insects, bacteria and fungi. Compostable plastics and food scraps are able to be composted.
The great thing about composting is that anyone can start their own home composter or worm farm! The key is to understand the ‘how’ and ‘what’ that you need to do this. This can be broken down into several steps:
- Decide which home composting system you would like – indoor, outdoor or even worm farm.
- Learn about what materials you need to start your home composter or worm farm.
- Understand what can go into your worm farm or home composter.
- Learn how to maintain your worm farm or home composter i.e. temperature, quantity, steps involved, water/dryness, oxygen.
Compost is really just decomposed organic material. It can be anything from kitchen scraps, plants, twigs, egg shells, coffee grounds, worms or leaves. Compost is used in the garden or soil to improve quality of the soil and make it a better environment for planting and growing.
What Is An Industrial Composter?
An industrial composting or commercial composting facility is a large-scale composting option. It can take massive amounts of compostable materials at once and turn it into large amounts of fertilizer for mass landscaping projects.
An industrial or commercial composter on the other hand, is much larger and much more protected. This type of composting is carefully and closely monitored by staff. A commercial composter is extremely measured and controlled, with all aspects such as water, air, temperature and introduced micro-organisms being watched.
Compost can then be utilized as fertilizer in gardens or fields as it has been broken down to organic matter and is full of useful nutrients. This is great for your own garden or for large landscaping projects or council projects.
What Is A Home Composter?
Many people use home composters because they are in their own backyard, are a simple step toward minimizing environmental footprints, reduces waste and produces high-quality home fertilizer for your garden. You can also walk outside to dispose of your waste efficiently and eco-friendly.
These home composters usually contain insects and worms to assist in the process as well as shredded newspaper, grass clippings, leaves or even eggshells. Home composters are becoming more accessible and available to the everyday consumer.
There are also many types of home composters you can use inside and outside of the house.
What Is A Worm Farm?
A worm farm is similar to a home composter in materials that can be disposed of and that it’s in your very own backyard. However, there are some different considerations with a worm farm which are essentially around keeping your worms alive.
You want to feed the worms as they speed up the composting process and the bedding needs to be at optimal levels so not too hot or cold, too wet or dry. You also can’t put anything citrus – such as orange peels or anything with juice – into a worm farm. This is due to the acid levels which will impact the soil. Garlic, onions and other smelly spices or vegetables, purely for the acid levels and smell.
Anything with grease, meat, bone, oil, butter, stock etc. This can impact soil levels and attract vermin or insects. In a worm farm, you want the worms fed and alive.
Benefits Of Composting?
Essentially, the main benefits of composting are to reduce your environmental impact by returning natural materials back to the earth into compounds such as fertilizer/soil. The manufacturing processes of such products as compostable plastic are environmentally friendly, the end result is safe for the environment and you are taking rubbish out of landfill.
Some benefits of using compostable plastic include:
- Compostable plastic can breakdown in as little as 90 days or less, and at the most, six months.
- Compostable plastic completely breaks down into its natural environment when disposed of correctly – back to natural components.
- The breakdown of these plastics can provide compost and fertilizer for your garden or industrial landscaping.
- Compostable plastic is made from natural materials, meaning that gashouse emissions and use of electricity, water and the like are greatly reduced during manufacturing.
- Can be disposed of in a home composter, a worm farm or an industrial composting facility.
- Providing jobs in rural areas.
What Can Be Composted?
The great thing about a home composter is that you can dispose of quite a lot of household waste into your composter! Compostable plastics can also be added to your home compost for complete breakdown back into natural components.
Some household or garden waste you can dispose of in your home composter include:
- Coffee grounds
- Tea leaves or tea bags
- Food waste such as vegetables or fruit scraps (except in a worm farm – nothing acidic!)
- Leftover bread, pasta or cereals
- Dry cat or dog food
- Twigs, leaves or grass clippings
- Shredded newspaper or printer paper (no colored dye).
You can learn more about the different composting processes in this blog.
Composting! A wonderful way for people and businesses to be more mindful of their environmental footprint and look to alternative materials and ways to dispose of them. With worm farms, home composters and industrial composters, the options are great for those wanting to take the leap.
However, composting is not simple and requires a lot of thought of energy on your end. You should consider these five tips: deciding whether you will compost at home or via an industrial composter; researching what type of composting is for you; understanding what can be composted; having an idea of what you will do with the resulting fertilizer and understand where your composter will live.
You can dispose of quite a lot of household waste into your composter or worm farm! Compostable plastics can also be added to your home compost for complete breakdown back into natural components.
Home composters usually contain insects and worms to assist in the process as well as shredded newspaper, grass clippings, leaves or even eggshells. Home composters are becoming more accessible and available to the everyday consumer.