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*Backyard composting piles do not generally reach high enough temperatures to fully decompose certified compostable food service ware and bags. These items are designed to be composted at commercial composting facilities.


Potential sources of compostable materials, or feedstocks, include residential, agricultural, and commercial waste streams. Residential food or yard waste can be composted at home,[26] or collected for inclusion in a large-scale municipal composting facility. In some regions, it could also be included in a local or neighborhood composting project.[27][28]

The two broad categories of organic solid waste are green and brown. Green waste is generally considered a source of nitrogen and includes pre- and post-consumer food waste, grass clippings, garden trimmings, and fresh leaves.[1] Animal carcasses, roadkill, and butcher residue can also be composted, and these are considered nitrogen sources.[29]

On many farms, the basic composting ingredients are animal manure generated on the farm as a nitrogen source, and bedding as the carbon source. Straw and sawdust are common bedding materials. Nontraditional bedding materials are also used, including newspaper and chopped cardboard.[1] The amount of manure composted on a livestock farm is often determined by cleaning schedules, land availability, and weather conditions. Each type of manure has its own physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. Cattle and horse manures, when mixed with bedding, possess good qualities for composting. Swine manure, which is very wet and usually not mixed with bedding material, must be mixed with straw or similar raw materials. Poultry manure must be blended with high-carbon, low-nitrogen materials.[31]

Solid human waste can be collected directly in composting toilets, or indirectly in the form of sewage sludge after it has undergone treatment in a sewage treatment plant. Both processes require capable design, as potential health risks need to be managed. In the case of home composting, a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and parasitic worms, can be present in feces, and improper processing can pose significant health risks.[38] In the case of large sewage treatment facilities that collect wastewater from a range of residential, commercial and industrial sources, there are additional considerations. The composted sewage sludge, referred to as biosolids, can be contaminated with a variety of metals and pharmaceutical compounds.[39][40] Insufficient processing of biosolids can also lead to problems when the material is applied to land.[41]

Compost is sold as bagged potting mixes in garden centers and other outlets.[73][64] This may include composted materials such as manure and peat but is also likely to contain loam, fertilizers, sand, grit, etc. Varieties include multi-purpose composts designed for most aspects of planting, John Innes formulations,[73] grow bags, designed to have crops such as tomatoes directly planted into them. There are also a range of specialist composts available, e.g. for vegetables, orchids, houseplants, hanging baskets, roses, ericaceous plants, seedlings, potting on, etc.[citation needed]

Food and food-soiled paper items, including paper towels, plates and napkins, pizza boxes, and ice cream containers, may be composted by setting out at the curb by 6 am on Mondays for collection. Residents are asked to include only food, food-related items, and yard trim/waste (optional) in the cart for collection. If yard trim/waste is not stored in the cart, residents may continue to place yard trim/waste beside the cart in paper yard trim/waste bags or another container with a tight-fitting lid marked "Yard Trim" or "Yard Waste." However, all food and food-soiled items must be placed in the 32- gallon wheeled green cart for pick-up.

Composting and vermicomposting are an environmentally friendly way to reduce pathogens in organic wastes and generate a valuable product that provides nutrients for crops. However, how the bacterial community structure changes during these different processes and if the bacteria applied with the (vermi)composted products survive in an arable cultivated soil is still largely unknown. In this study, we monitored how the bacterial community structure changed during conditioning, composting with and without Eisenia fetida, and when the end-product was applied to arable soil cultivated with wheat Triticum sp. L. The organic wastes used were biosolid, cow manure, and a mixture of both. Large changes occurred in the relative abundance of some of the most abundant bacterial genera during conditioning, but the changes were much smaller during composting or vermicomposting. The bacterial community structure was significantly different in the organic wastes during conditioning and (vermi)composting but adding E. fetida had no significant effect on it. Changes in the relative abundance of the bacterial groups in the (vermi)composted waste applied to the arable soil cultivated with wheat were small, suggesting that most survived even after 140 days. As such, applying (vermi)composted organic wastes not only adds nutrients to a crop but also contributes to the survival of plant growth-promoting bacteria found in the (vermi)compost. However, putative human pathogens found in the biosolid also survived in the arable soil, and their relative abundance remained high but mixing the biosolid with cow manure reduced that risk. It was found that applying (vermi)composted organic wastes to an arable soil not only provides plant nutrients and adds bacteria with plant growth-promoting capacities, but some putative pathogens also survived.

Anything that comes from the ground can be composted at home. While animal products can often be composted in municipal composting systems, at-home composting should avoid those items as they can attract animals and insects and leave pathogens in the final product.

Life Forest is the first to legally offer burial of human and pet composted remains in a deed-recorded burial plot where the bereaved can plant a native tree species of their choice to serve as a memorial marker. This new burial option offers a greener alternative to cremation and traditional burial practices.

When in doubt, find out so you only compost what is accepted by compost collection company. Check your local compost guidelines to ensure you're putting the right materials in your compost bin. If you're still unsure if something can be composted, put it in the garbage to avoid contamination. You can learn more about composting in your area by checking with your city, or find your garbage, recycling and compost collection company by using the following drop-down:

More than 30 percent of what gets thrown away every day is food waste that could have been composted. When you compost, you keep valuable resources out of the landfill and avoid methane emissions that contribute to climate change. When compost is returned to the soil, it adds nutrients, retains water, increases yields when growing food and stores carbon. Using compost on lawns and gardens also reduces pesticide use, reduces stormwater runoff and returns important nutrients to the soil so more fruits, vegetables, trees, grasses and other plants can thrive.

We conducted a recent study that showed 50 percent of residential garbage in Washington could've been composted. Most of this material consisted of food (18 percent) and leaves, grass, or prunings (12 percent).

Recycling of some organic materials, such as yard trimmings and manure, is widespread in Maryland. One area of growing interest is food scraps diversion. Though only an estimated 15.5% of food scraps was recycled in Maryland in 2019, much of the remaining material could be prevented, used to feed humans or animals, or composted.

This specification covers plastics and products made from plastics that are designed to be composted in municipal and industrial aerobic composting facilities. The properties in this specification are those required to determine if plastics and products made from plastics will compost satisfactorily, including biodegrading at a rate comparable to known compostable materials. The purpose of this specification is to establish standards for identifying products and materials that will compost satisfactorily in commercial and municipal composting facilities.

Howard Fischer, a 63-year-old investor living north of New York City, has a wish for when he dies. He wants his remains to be placed in a vessel, broken down by tiny microbes and composted into rich, fertile soil.

Many types of food waste and yard waste can be composted at home, including grass clippings, tree and shrub trimmings, vegetable garden and fruit tree waste, lawn clippings, autumn leaves, coffee grounds, and fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen. Home composters should not attempt to compost meat, dairy or large amounts of baked goods.

Fruits, vegetables, dairy products, grains, bread, unbleached paper napkins, coffee filters, eggshells, meats and newspaper can be composted. If it can be eaten or grown in a field or garden, it can be composted. Items that cannot be composted include plastics, grease, glass, and metals -- including plastic utensils, condiment packages, plastic wrap, plastic bags, foil, silverware, drinking straws, bottles, polystyrene or chemicals. Items such as red meat, bones and small amounts of paper are acceptable, but they take longer to decompose. Add red meat and bones to only a well-controlled compost pile to avoid attracting vermin, pests and insects to partially decomposed meat scraps.

Food waste that is not composted generally goes directly to a landfill. To date, 51 percent of Georgia's landfills are in closure or will be closed within 5 years, and 62 percent will be closed in fewer than 10 years. On average, Georgia landfill tipping fees are between $30 and $40 per ton. As landfills fill up and close at an alarming rate, waste disposal and tipping fees to the businesses and institutions generating the waste will continue to climb. Once in the landfill, organic matter may react with other materials and create toxic leachate. Food waste placed in an airtight landfill stops the earth's natural cycle of decomposition. This cycle plays a crucial role in the health of our environment. More than 13 million tons of food scraps were generated in 1990, accounting for 9 percent of the Municipal Solid Waste stream in the United States. This percentage can be much higher for tourist intensive areas. More than 72 percent of all materials entering landfills can be diverted through composting. Composting provides a way in which solid wastes, water quality, and agricultural concerns can be joined. An increasing number of communities, businesses, institutions, and individuals are expected to turn to composting to divert materials from landfills and to lower waste management costs. Although waste stream managers view composting primarily as a means to divert materials from disposal facilities, the environmental benefits, including reduction in water pollution, and the economic benefits to farmers, gardeners, and landscapers can be substantial. 041b061a72


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