Composting is contributing to the production of greenhouse gases.
Composting involves the break down of organic material by specialized microbes in the presence of oxygen. Without the microbes and oxygen working together, it does not work. Composting invariably results in noxious and toxic materials being liberated as the biomass is oxidized. The process is inefficient, takes months to complete, and in the process must be closely monitored. The end product may be useful in amending soils but the nutrient value is generally poor.
Residential and agricultural growers still rely heavily on petro-based organic fertilizers and pesticides because experience has shown that compost without supplements does not work well. The dependency on petro-based products can not be sustained. The temperature for composting must be sufficiently high (110 -160 F) to support the decomposition but not too high or the aerobic microbes needed to make the process work die resulting in a dead heap of material. When this happens, the oxygen levels drop significantly and the foul (anaerobic) putrefaction process sets in. Ammonia, hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg odors), and methane gases are then produced.
Because it is nearly impossible to keep all areas in a compost pile properly oxygenated at the right temperature and humidity, these very undesirable gases are unavoidable even in well tended piles.
Water vapor is also driven off the biomass at these elevated temperatures and more water must be added to keep the decomposition working properly. Water is wasted. The pile must be turned frequently to get oxygen to the center consuming energy to allow the hot center areas to cool, and mix with other areas that have yet to decompose. Heat is liberated and the net effects are pollution, water wasting, and energy consumed tending to the pile.
Much of the carbon in the biomass is converted to carbon dioxide when it is allowed to oxidize. Tons of carbon dioxide are liberated each year. It is a well known gas that appears to be linked to the heating up of the planet. There are many unforeseen costs associated with composting. The heating of the planet can not be in our best interest.
Our dependence on petro-based fertilizers and pesticides, on machines to move and turn compost, on non-sustainable agricultural methods of farming should stop.
The BokashiCycle is a simple solution. Here, specialized microbes are allowed to work on the biomass where there is no oxygen (the anaerobic process). The microbes work best when they are undisturbed and do their job very quickly fermenting (pickling) the biomass. The microbes work together attacking the mass with enzymes (chemicals microbes use to break structures down). No gases are liberated. Carbon is not oxidized (carbon dioxide does not form and enter the atmosphere because there is no oxygen present during the process), no putrefaction (foul odors) is produced, and most importantly the nitrogen remains in a form that plants can readily use.
The process occurs at low temperatures, never heating up as occurs during composting, and is complete in less then 1/3 the time it takes to compost a biomass. When the fermented product is put into the ground, the soil microbes take over and quickly do the final conversion to enriched soil. None of the water in the biomass is lost. Soil microbes are replenished. Soil is properly amended and plants grow well without the heavy dependence on fertilizers and pesticides. No mixing or turning is required and the process, unlike composting, does not contribute to global warming.
Did you know that composting may be hazardous to your health?
The EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) acknowledges that recycled Class A compost sold as an unlabelled fertilizer or soil amendment may have, on average, 300 ppm of lead in it. EPA Office of Water claims 267 pounds of lead per acre is safe…
Landfills and Composting Pollute the air.
Two major biological products during composting are carbon dioxide (CO2) and ammonia (NH3). CO2 is a greenhouse gas, while ammonia is a malodorous (it stinks) air pollutant that is toxic if inhaled. A lot of heat is also released.
Recycling costs to rise.
Global economic disruptions and slowdowns in using recycled products have an impact on local recycling services. Be prepared for a rise in your monthly trash service fee. Check out this article below.
CAMPUS DINING HALLS ELIMINATE TRAYS, AIM FOR ZERO WASTE…
ARAMARK Higher Education conducted a study of 186,000 meals at 25 universities that eliminated trays from dining services, estimating that there was a 25 to 30 percent reduction in food waste per person. ARAMARK estimates that 50 to 60 percent of its 500 campus partners will go trayless in the next school year.
In a complementary study, over 92,000 students, faculty and staff were surveyed from 300 institutions, and 79 percent said they would support trayless dining. Besides avoided food waste, there are significant water and energy savings by eliminating trays. Examples of recent adopters going trayless include Oberlin College in Ohio and Portland State University (PSU) in Oregon.
PSU, in partnership with ARAMARK, recently announced plans for its Ondine Hall cafeteria to become a zero waste facility. It composts all food waste and napkins, diverting 41.8 tons last year. It also recycles used cooking oil, which an Oregon biodiesel producer will convert to fuel. All cans, glass, plastic containers and cardboard are recycled, and a new system is being set up to recycle plastic wrap and film. Bulk containers are used for condiments as well.
“By adhering to these zero waste practices, we can further reduce and ultimately eliminate all trash at the PSU dining hall,” says Laura Weiss, ARAMARK's Regional Sustainability Manager. “It will take some time to fully divert all waste from the landfill, but given how much trash we're already diverting, we are well on our way to achieving the goal of zero waste in the future.” from BioCycle November 2008, Vol. 49, No. 11, p. 6.
Municipal programs reach out to different sectors as new ways are developed to expand at-home organics diversion - and they're working impressively!
Stop trashing the environment
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY REGION 9 “Anaerobic Digestion of Food Waste” FINAL REPORT March 2008 East Bay Municipal Utility District
Food waste is the single largest category of municipal solid waste (MSW) in California at 5.9 million tons or 16% of total MSW as of 1999 (CIWMB, 1999). Diverting a portion of food waste from landfills can provide a significant contribution toward achieving EPA, state and local mandated solid waste diversion goals.
In addition, diverting food waste from landfills prevents uncontrolled emissions of its breakdown products, including methane—a potent greenhouse gas. Currently, only about 2.5% of food waste is recycled nationwide, and the principal technology is composting (which we know produces greenhouse gases and heat too).
While composting provides an alternative to landfill disposal of food waste, it requires large areas of land; produces volatile organic compounds (smog precursors), which are released into the atmosphere; and it too consumes energy.
Energy is required in tending to the pile of compost, in transporting and turning the pile, and with large operations contributes to our dependence on foreign oil because trucks and tractors are involved in moving the massive piles. The tractors and trucks running on fuel, venting directly into the atmosphere are stirring up the piles and they are adding even more carbon dioxide and particulate matter to our earth’s air and they are directly through radiant heat and indirectly by spewing gases heating the earth.
Consequently, better recycling alternatives to composting food waste should be explored. Anaerobic digestion has been successfully used for many years to stabilize municipal organic solid wastes, and to provide beneficial end products, i.e., methane gas and fertilizer.
Turning Food Waste into Energy at the East Bay Municipal Utility District Using Anaerobic Digestion Process to Recycle Post-Consumer Food Waste
The food waste evaluated during this study is representative of food wastes available from restaurants, produce markets, fish markets and wherever else food is prepared throughout California and around the country.
Providing a solution to the problems of food production
Based on research and development activities in many countries, using the Bokashi systems approach with Fermenting Organisms (FM technology) is increasingly viewed as a means of providing solutions to the many problems of food production, depletion of natural resources, environmental pollution, food safety and nutrition plus human and animal health.
Fermenting Organisms have been used successfully to:
- Improve soil quality and the growth, yield and quality of crops
- Enhance the growth and market weight of swine and poultry when used as a probiotic food additive
- Improve the quality and shelf-life of fruits and vegetables
- Improve the process technology for fermenting municipal waste (i.e., garbage) and kitchen waste into a high quality soil conditioner with valued nutrients
- Treat and clarify stagnant and polluted waters and canals
- Around the house, in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry equipment and to assist in the control of pet odors and waste.
What are Fermenting Organisms?
People have been fermenting, pickling food, and brewing wines and beers for hundreds of years and it has long been known that fermented farm waste, when put into the ground (where oxygen levels are very low) gave better crops, fruits, and vegetables. Farmers early in the history had no microbial knowledge. They passed from one generation to the next the formula or process that they had learned usually but not always resulted in higher yields.
Research has shown that it is a combination of specialized microbes that do the job. The microbes do the work where the oxygen levels are non-existent or very low. They are unable to thrive when the oxygen levels are higher. To get the high quality nutrients requires a specialized microbe mixture and the elimination of oxygen is essential.
These microbes mixed together, each doing a part in breaking down the biomass support one another, do not inhibit or compete one against the other as is common in other systems and they rapidly and efficiently at nearly room temperature accomplish safely a conversion of the biomass to rich nutrients that can then be given back to the soil and other plants. They are called fermenting microbes.
The term Fermenting Organisms, often abbreviated as "FM", is a generic and descriptive phrase and acronym to describe the theories, technology and applications of beneficial microorganisms, such as phototrophic bacteria, yeast and lactic acid bacteria working in synergy.
This technology is all natural, utilizing beneficial fermenting microbes to repopulate environments with healthy microorganisms. The microbes are non-pathogenic (do no harm to humans or animals) and occur naturally in the environment. It is a natural and organic technology that has been found to be useful in numerous ways.
Examples of how they have benefited mankind include:
- Sustainable agriculture and gardening
- Livestock and pet health
- Odor control
- Human health
- Waste management and recycling
- Environmental remediation
- Eco-friendly cleaning
The FM technology has been researched and developed by academics worldwide, resulting in many scientific papers and case studies. There are over 80 strains of microorganisms that have been identified as having beneficial characteristics and there are innumerable combinations of these species to create different formulas that work to break down waste materials. The number of strains utilized, the levels at which they are used in a formula, temperature, and use of other ingredients creates unique formulas.
The BokashiCyclette uses fermenting microorganism in the anaerobic fermentation of kitchen and table scraps.
History of FM
Hundreds of research and efficacy studies have been started and completed and they are well documented. Many more projects and studies are in process and the outcomes appear promising. There are each year conferences and publications including books and periodicals around the world reporting results scientifically documenting how we may expect to end our dependence on non-sustainable agricultural farming.
Originally, FM was developed for use in agriculture (crop farming) as an alternative to agricultural chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers. FM however is not a conventional fertilizer and unlike the purpose of fertilizers, the purpose of FM is to increase the number of beneficial microorganisms in the soil. This improves the soil's microbial health and promotes a healthy environment for plants. It can also be used as a processing tool to manufacture organic fertilizers.
From crop farming, its application flowed naturally into livestock. Outside the U.S., FM is actively used in livestock operations, including hog, cattle/dairy, and poultry. From livestock, the positive effects on the livestock waste and effluent into lagoons and rivers led to the use of FM for environmental purposes including land/soil remediation and water purification.
FM environmental applications throughout the world have included cleaning polluted waterways, lakes and lagoons, in septic systems, municipal wastewater treatment plants, and landfills/dump sites. As FM became used extensively in livestock, research began into its use as a functional food supplement for human health. It was discovered that FM exhibits very beneficial effects as an antioxidant and probiotic on the digestive system.
Stop Trashing the Climate
... compelling evidence that preventing waste and expanding reuse, recycling — that is, aiming for zero waste — is one of the fastest, cheapest, and most effective strategies available for combating climate change.
This report documents the link between climate change and unsustainable patterns of consumption and wasting, dispels myths about the climate benefits of landfill gas recovery and waste incineration, outlines policies needed to effect change, and offers a roadmap for how to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within a short period.