Food waste composting contains loads of nutrients that can be taken back to the environment. This can be done by the help of composting process. The moment you appreciate the importance of composting, then you should strive to do it in an appropriate way so that you can achieve the desired quality of compost. Compost is a stable organic mixture that arises from the breakdown of organic components such as food waste.
There are three essential stages in the food waste composting cycle:
Stage One: This takes a couple of days. During this stage, mesophilic microorganisms start to physically break down biodegradable compounds.
Stage Two: The prominent thing at this stage is the temperature which keeps on rising. If this is not observed keenly, the compost pile may heat up to the extent of killing the microorganisms. This may cause a negative outcome.
Stage Three: This occurs when thermophilic microorganisms use up the available supply of the biodegraded compound. This stage takes several months to be completed.
Methods of food waste composting
Several methods come in handy when you are undertaking food waste composting. The best method will depend on the environment of your residence. You may be living in an apartment or in a house with a backyard.
You may consider the following methods for your composting venture:
Hot composting: This is usually one of the best methods for producing quality compost in the shortest possible period of time. The method favors the destruction of pathogens.
Cold composting: This method is ideal for adding organic matter around trees, garden plots, and eroded areas. The time needed for this method to produce the desired results depends upon the existing environmental conditions. It may take several years for the compost to mature.
Trench composting: This method involves simply digging a trench of about six to eight inches deep. The trench is then filled with food waste before covering it with soil. After a few weeks, you can then plant directly on top of the soil covering the trench. You will notice that with this method, the composting process is rather slow.
Filling the bin or window: Under this method, you will be required to place the waste in layers using a balance of highly moist and low-carbon materials. Each of the layers should not be more than 4 – 6 inches deep.
You can then follow the following five steps:
Step 1: Ensure you have started with 4 – 6 inch layers of coarse material set at the bottom of the composter or on the top of the soil.
Step 2: Add a 3 – 4 inch layer of low carbon material to the layer.
Step 3: Add a 4 – 6 inch layer of high carbon material.
Step 4: Add a 1-inch layer of garden soil or the finished compost.
Step 5: Mix the layers of high-carbon materials, low-carbon materials, and soil or compost.
Repeat steps 2 to 5 until the composting bin is filled, then cover it with a dry material.
You will need to always remember that this method of composting food waste often requires spacious land, an array of equipment, and vigorous labor so as to be able to maintain and operate the facility.
People living in small apartments should not worry that composting is out of reach for them. This is because there are three ways by which composting can be done indoors. This brings about the same results as the one done outdoors.
Method of Indoors & Outdoors Food Waste Composting
Vermicomposting: This method involves the use of worms to break down organic matter. So, all that you need to do is to be in possession of a bin with a lid. You will then fill the bin with soil and red wiggler worms before dumping your organic matter in the bin. After which, the worms will do their work. The organic waste will be broken down into something called casting, which is rich in nutrients. Your casting will now be ready for transfer to your garden.
Bokasi: This method originated in Japan. It uses a starter of specific microorganisms that break down the organic waste. This method is similar to the vermicomposting method. You will be required to buy starters for the microorganisms and thereafter, it will be easy to maintain. You may even add dairy and meat waste and you will find that the smell is always minimal.
In Vessel Composting: This method can process large amounts of food waste without taking up as much space as the window method. It can accommodate virtually all types of organic waste. Under this method, the food waste is fed into a drum, silo, or concretized trench. This allows better control of environmental conditions such as temperature, moisture, and airflow. The food waste is mechanically mixed to make sure that it is well aerated.
The work of composting food waste thrives under different methods and stages. It is a process that is naturally driven, although you have to control the conditions to ensure that you produce the desired quality of compost.