Composting is a type of waste disposal in which the organic waste gets to decompose in a natural fashion via an oxygen-rich environment. The waste you place into a composting environment must be things like food waste (i.e. vegetable and fruit peels, cores, etc.), as well as coffee grounds, eggshells, grass clippings, leaves, etc. It doesn’t include things like meat, dairy, animal or human waste, perennial weeds (because it spreads them) or citrus fruits.
All the appropriate materials are put into some sort of pile or container where they naturally get broken down via bacteria, earthworms, as well as other organisms. You also must add some water and ensure it has access to oxygen via turning the elements every few days, and eventually in a few months you end up with the final product: wonderful eco-friendly fertilizer or humus that’s great for feeding your plants or lawn.
Types of Composting
The three main kinds of composting are: Aerobic, Anaerobic and Vermicomposting.
Aerobic composting is the decomposing of dense organic material via microorganisms which need oxygen in order to process it so you end up with a form or organic and eco-friendly fertilizer.
Anaerobic composting is when putrefaction or decomposing via digestion is used to process dense organic materials which don’t need oxygen. This is usually a large scale form of managing waste and it produces what’s called biogas, which is mostly carbon dioxide and methane. It’s also sometimes used for creating renewable energy via producing what’s called digestate, a fibrous and thick biomass used to condition soil.
Vermicomposting is composting using worms or microorganisms in a special container called a vermicomposter or another kind of controlled container to decompose the organic materials into fertilizer, which is then called vermicompost. It uses a mix of bedding, organic waste materials, worm castings or humus.
Other kinds of composting
There are also other kinds of composting, to include:
Mesophilic --This type of composting happens a fairly low temperatures between 20 to 45 degrees Celsius via mesophiles. Mesophiles are organisms which thrive in these temperatures and carry out the decomposition process.
Thermophilic -- This process happens at higher temperatures over 50 degrees Celsius. Thermophiles are the microorganisms which do the decomposition work.
Backyard Composting – This is small scale composting done by the average person in their backyard inside of a small area. There are several types of backyard composting to include cold or passive, hot or active, as well as hole or trench.
Cold Composting – This is a type of anaerobic composting and it is simple to do because it doesn’t require much human intervention. You merely have to add organic waste from time to time and then allow the decomposition to occur naturally. Once you set up your container there’s nothing else to do. However, this type takes a lot more time to accomplish the decomposition process since there’s a lack of any outside force for optimizing it like air, water, or other types of enhancements other composting methods implore.
Hot Composting – This is where you recycle organic waste via biological aerobic decomposition via a controlled container or other such environment. It ends up generating nutrient rich humus and is a lot shorter process than the cold compositing method. One advantage of it is that it usually destroys the majority of any undesired spores, weeds, seeds or toxic pathogens that could be within the organic materials you put into your container.
Hole/Trench Composting – With this method you recycle the organic waste via placing it into a hole or trench you dig into the earth. There it decays and uses anaerobic decomposition to condition and fertilize the area around the hole/trench. One advantage of it is that it’s quite easy to do and assists the plants around it in developing a better root system, plus it is less smelly than other methods since it is underground. A main disadvantage is it doesn’t produce the fertilizer you can use elsewhere like most other composting methods.
Heap/Pile/Bin/Tumbler – This is another simple method. All you have to do is select an area of ground and start piling up your organic material. You can put a fence around it if desired so it doesn’t spread out too much. You do have to mix up the materials with a pitchfork or shovel from time to time.
A variation of this type of composting is to place the organic materials in a composting bin instead of on the ground. There are many different sizes of bins and you can buy one readymade or build one yourself. Or, you can get a bin that rotates called a tumbler bin, which is enclosed and you just turn it, so the labor required to keep up the decomposition is easier than using a pitchfork or shovel.
Mechanical Composting – This method uses electricity and generates heat as well as rotates the contents of the container to create waste that is semi-compacted in only 24 hours. It’s normally used mainly by places like restaurants, schools, hotels, hospitals or other big institutions, as it is more expensive than other methods.
Chickens – If you have the space to raise chickens, this is a simple composting method. Chickens like to scratch the ground, plus they love to eat scraps, and you can use their waste as fertilizer. Merely feed your chickens kitchen food scraps and it both feeds the chickens as well as producing fertilizer.
All in all, there are many types of composing methods, and you need to evaluate your situation and choose the one that best serves you. If you want to try vermicomposting, here is an article on the best type of worm to have in your worm bin.