Types of Composting / What’s Compost
Composting, often described as nature’s way of recycling, is the biological process of breaking up of organic waste such as food waste, manure, leaves, grass trimmings, paper, worms, and coffee grounds, etc., into an extremely useful humus-like substance by various micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes in the presence of oxygen.
Actinomycetes are similar to fungus in the way they grow and spread, but its distinguishing elements are that the types of materials they are efficient at decomposing. The active nature in this microscopic bacteria and the sheer number present (about 10 million per 1 gram of soil), make them highly effective at breaking down materials like tree bark, newspaper, and other hard organic material.
Today, the use of composting to turn organic wastes into a valuable resource is expanding rapidly in many countries, as landfill space becomes scarce and expensive, and as people become more aware of the impact they have on the environment.
Types of Composting / According To Its Nature
Aerobic composting: – This means to compost with air. High nitrogen waste (like grass clippings or other green material) will grow bacteria that will create high temperatures (up to 160 degrees). Organic waste will break down quickly and is not prone to smell.
This type of composting is high maintenance, since it will need to be turned every couple days to keep air in the system and your temperatures up. It is also likely to require accurate moisture monitoring. This type of compost is good for large volumes of compost.
Anaerobic composting: – This is composting without air. Anaerobic composting is low maintenance since you simply throw it in a pile and wait a couple years. If you just stack your debris in a pile it will generally compact to the point where there is no available air for beneficial organisms to live.
Instead you will get a very slow working bacteria growing that does not require air. Your compost may take years to break down (this is what happens when you throw your food waste in the garbage that goes to the landfill). Anaerobic composts create the awful smell most people associate with composting. The bacteria break down the organic materials into harmful compounds like ammonia and methane.
Some of these guests break down the organic materials for the others to eat. Red worms eat the bacteria, fungi, and the food waste, and then deposit their castings. Oxygen and moisture are required to keep this compost healthy.
This is medium maintenance compost since you need to feed your red worms and monitor the conditions.
Types of Composting / According To Its Use
Industrial systems: – Industrial composting systems are increasingly being installed as a waste management alternative to landfills, along with other advanced waste processing systems. Mechanical sorting of mixed waste streams combined with anaerobic digestion or in-vessel composting, is called mechanical biological treatment.
Treating biodegradable waste before it enters a landfill reduces global warming from fugitive methane; untreated waste breaks down anaerobically in a landfill, producing landfill gas that contains methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Agriculture: – In agriculture, windrow composting is used. It is the production of compost by piling organic matter or biodegradable waste, such as animal manure and crop residues, in long rows (windrows). This method is suited to producing large volumes of compost.
These rows are generally turned to improve porosity and oxygen content, mix in or remove moisture, and redistribute cooler and hotter portions of the pile. Windrow composting is a commonly used farm scale composting method.
Home: – Home composting is the simplest way to compost. At home, composting is generally done by using composting bins or in the form of pile composting. Other methods include trench composting and sheet composting. It is a small scale process and requires less outlay of capital and labor.
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