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Composting

Composting process

Why compost?

The addition of compost to soil has a number of beneficial effects on the soil’s physical, chemical and nutrient properties. Compost improves soil structure, retains moisture, provides plant nutrients, increases organic matter and reduces disease. These are all important in maintaining and improving soil conditions for plant growth.

Fact:

Almost a third of all household waste could be composted!

Collection

Collection

Organic waste can be collected from people’s homes and recycling centres. This organic waste is then taken to a composting facility to be composted.

Sorting

Sorting Organic waste falls into two categories for treatment depending on whether or not it contains food waste. Waste that excludes food waste is called Green Waste and often uses Open Windrow Composting.  In-Vessel composting is used for organic waste that includes food.

In-Vessel Composting

In-Vessel Composting

Organic waste containing food waste goes to an In-Vessel Composting facility. This type of facility is enclosed.

The organic waste is shredded, water is added and it’s all mixed together. The mixture then goes into barrier one composting where it has to achieve a set temperature of 60°C for two consecutive days.

Then the mixture moves to barrier two composting, where it has to achieve a temperature of 60°C for another two consecutive days.

Once completed, the organic waste is formed into long triangular shaped heaps known as windrows for maturation. It is turned every week for 6 to 10 weeks after which time it becomes compost.

Open Windrow Composting for Green waste

Open Windrow Composting for Green waste

An Open Windrow Composting facility is an open-air facility and makes use of a series of long triangular shaped heaps known as windrows.

The incoming green waste is checked for quality before being shredded and formed into windrows. These windrows are turned every week for 14 weeks after which time it becomes compost.

Screening and Grading

Screening and Grading

The compost (from either process) is screened through a trommel (large barrel) where any remaining contaminants (like bits of plastic) are removed and the compost is graded into the required size. Different grades of compost are required for different uses, e.g. 10mm for horticulture, 25mm for agriculture.

Compost

Compost

Now the compost is ready, it can be taken away to its end market - usually restoration, landscaping, garden centres and agriculture.

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