Composting: Frequently Asked Questions
Posted: Mar 31 2017
What is composting?
Composting is a natural biological process that is carried out by various natural microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi that utilize solid waste as an energy source and break down organic material into simpler substances. These microorganisms require air, water, and an energy source. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain proper environmental conditions for microbial life within the compost pile. Under proper conditions worms, insects, etc. can speed the decomposition process. In addition, the use of Earth Smart's Compost Starter can initiate and accelerate the composting process and provide good quality compost in a narrow time window.
Throughout the country, landfills are filling up, garbage incineration is becoming increasingly unpopular, and our alternatives for waste disposal are becoming increasingly limited. So, where do we go from here ? The logical alternative is Composting.
Composting provides a means for reducing the amount of waste that would otherwise be disposed of in our landfills. By diverting solid wastes from our landfill sites we help to conserve landfill space and reduce the production of leachate and methane gas. In addition, an effective composting program can produce high quality soil amendments with a variety of potential uses.
What if the compost pile has an unpleasant odor?
A well constructed composter should not produce unpleasant odors. However, if it emits an ammonia odor, the problem might be too much green feed stock, if it emits a rotten egg odor it might be too little air. To solve this problem, aerate the pile and treat with Earth Smart's Compost Starter
Should I wear gloves when handling compost?
Unless you use pet manure as a feed stock, there is no need to wear gloves.
Is it safe to add cat or dog feces to a compost pile?
No, both cat and dog feces contain pathogenic bacteria. Compost cat and dog feces separately using Earth Smart's Odour Eliminator This will accelerate the composting process, eliminate odor and suppress pathogenic bacteria.
What materials can be Composted?
Composting has the potential to manage any and all of the organic material in the waste stream which cannot otherwise be recycled. Some examples of organic material that can be composted include food scraps, leaves and yard wastes, agricultural crop residues, paper products, sewage sludge and wood.
Is composting compatible with other waste management systems?
Yes, composting can fit into any waste management strategy.
How long does it take to complete the composting process?
A number of factors govern the composting process. These factors include temperature, moisture, oxygen, particle size, carbon-to-nitrogen ratio and the frequency and degree of turning. The length of the process also depends on the results required. Generally, an immature compost can be produced in about a month, while a mature compost may take six months to a year. Earth Smart's Compost Starter can produce a mature compost in 40 to 60 days.
How often should I turn my compost pile?
A compost pile that is turned infrequently will still compost, but at a much slower rate. If you want accelerate the process, turn it every four days, but more frequently than that is not recommended.
Are special additives required?
In cases, where the feedstock is too dense to permit proper air flow or is too moist, as in the composting of grass clippings, it is no uncommon to add a bulking agent, such as wood chips, paper, cardboard or dry leaves to provide structure and to allow for proper air flow. The amount of bulking agent required is usually determined based on experience. Inoculating the feedstock with Earth Smart's Compost Starter microbes will also overcome this problem.