Sarah Gáliková


Effects biodegradable food, garden, and paper waste have on environment

Biodegradable garden, food, and paper waste can be defined as bio-waste. The main effect that bio-waste has is the production of methane. According to methane accounts for 3% of total greenhouse emissions in the EU.

What is composting?

Composting is a human-directed and controlled process with access to air, in which compost is created from biological waste under the influence of living organisms (microorganisms like bacteria and fungi). The result of composting is is a nutrient rich, dirt-like material that can be used to enrich soil which is ideal for growing plants.

Therefore, composting is not a method of “disposing” of biological waste, but a targeted process of producing organic fertilizer – compost.

In the nature it takes time, however we can help speed it up by creating the ideal environment by adding carbon, nitrogen to organic material, also lots of air and water is required.

Composting benefits

  • Supports healthy soil structure and plant growth (By adding natural proteins we help the soil to retain nutrients and moisture)
  • It eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers by serving as a homemade organic fertilizer (Microorganisms work with nutrients and make the soil more fertile)
  • It reduces methane emissions from landfills

What can be composted?

To make the composting work, you must maintain a proper balance of these materials:

  • Carbon-rich materials (“browns”) 

It helps with feeding the microorganisms and keeps the alive while they break down the waste. Browns you can use are: dead leaves, branches, paper.

  • Nitrogen-rich materials (“greens”)

It helps to create ideals conditions for a breakdown of the material, makes sure the decomposers can grow and reproduce quickly. Greens you can use are: grass clippings, food scraps and coffee grounds.

  • Water (moisture)

For ideal moisture the compost pile should be as wet as a wrung-out sponge. If it is not wet enough, you can add water.

  • Air (oxygen)

Optimal air flow can be achieved by layering the materials in small pieces and turning the piles regularly.

You can get the best result of composting when you add:

  • fruit and vegetable scraps, 
  • coffee grounds,
  • leaves and dried flowers, 
  • grass, 
  • wood chips, 
  • egg and nut shells,
  • rice,
  • bread and wheats.

Depending on the structure of your pile you can add:

  • Food soiled paper products,
  • Meat and bones,
  • Seafood,
  • Dairy products,
  • Compostable plastics.

The things you should NEVER include in your compost pile are:

  • Plants infected with diseases, 
  • Evergreen leaves,
  • Poisonous plants,
  • Non-compostable plastics,
  • Chemicals,
  • Glass.

How to start composting:

There is many ways or methods of composting. You can choose one of these:

  • Composting bin (This method can save your space because you can choose from many size of the bin.)
  • Composting pile (This is the easiest and cheapest method of composting, you won’t need any structure and you can start anytime during the year.)
  • Wormery composting (Vermicomposting)

Vermicomposting, or worm composting, is one of the methods of composting you can do indoor if your outdoor space is limited. It is unlimited to time as you can do it year-round in your basement, garage or even in your kitchen. 

It is an easy and environmentally friendly way of composting the kitchen waste into nutrient-rich compost to enrich the soil in your garden. The worms eat the food garbage and transform it into long-lasting plant food. The worms with kitchen waste are kept in a bin with hole for ventilation and moisture. Usually, the bin has two compartments. The upper one is used for adding the kitchen waste and the lower compartment is for the collection of the liquid that the worms produce.

If you maintain the required balance, you will have no problem with a smell or worms escaping from the box. The temperature should be kept between 10-30 degrees Celsius and you should never add too much kitchen waste which will not be eaten by worms.


About the Author

Sarah Gáliková is a Slovak girl with a passion for writing interesting articles and photography. She studied Economics and business, however her true affection is the english language. Sarah’s free time mostly consists of nature, great books and a camera.

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