Food waste composting has become increasingly popular as an environmentally friendly form of recycling. Currently, food waste composting needs a full municipal Food Waste Composting License, and several stakeholders have indicated this demand discourages food waste composting by the general public. The need for municipal composting licenses is due to the high volume of organic waste produced by residents throughout the country. In the UK, the Homeowners’ Council also indicated in 2021 that it would require licensed compost bins.
Food Waste Composting
There are two primary reasons why food waste composting is important to reduce odors and to improve water quality impacts. The first reason is to improve the community’s health by reducing the volume of garbage that goes to landfills each year. The second reason is to reduce odors that emanate from trash dumps, feedlots, and factory facilities.
In terms of food waste composting, the purpose of a typical bin is to hold the organic matter that would otherwise end up in a landfill. This is done through the process of aerobic composting, in which aerobic bacteria to break down organic matter to yield rich, crumbly stools or humus. Food material can be compressed into small pellets or wedges to be sent to a feedlot or a processing facility for decomposition.
Benefits Of Food Waste Composting
One of the benefits of food waste composting is the reduction of landfill waste. Each week, millions of pounds of food scraps are produced and added to landfills. If all of this food waste were to go to a landfill, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that the yard space needed to house these tons of waste would equal the annual trash volume of 20 trucks. Instead, local municipalities that experience a high volume of solid waste are able to meet their need for municipal solid waste disposal by diverting the material to food waste composters. Not only is the average citizen a cleaner, greener neighbor, but he or she also helps the environment by reducing landfill waste.
Food waste composting also benefits the U.S. through its contribution to the country’s bio-based energy resources. Biomass is a form of renewable natural fuel that can be turned into both diesel and bioethanol. The process of converting food waste to usable biogas has the potential to reduce our dependence on imported oil and lower our dependence on fossil fuels, both of which are declining in price.
Aside from the direct environmental benefit of Food Waste Composting, another major benefit is the economic benefit to society. Because most households receive a free (or near-free) food waste composting service, they no longer have to purchase expensive commercial compost bags from grocery stores or home waste depots. Instead, when they bring home their weekly bags of organic matter, they may deposit them at the local yard of their local public park or at the local dump. Once there, these organic matters can be used to create biodiesel fuel or fertilizer for their own gardens or to give away as gifts to friends and neighbors. Another advantage is that by creating such a resource, a family reduces their household’s dependence on fossil fuels, thus further reducing our dependence on foreign oil. The U.S. government estimates that more than 29 million homes across the country do not currently use biodegradable bags for collecting their weekly solid waste.
Food waste composting has become popular with a number of environmental groups as well as local and national government agencies. It was widely acclaimed upon its inception as a way to recycle food waste and lessen America’s reliance on imported oil. In addition to this, composting is an extremely green method of recycling because it produces no emissions of greenhouse gases, thereby helping the environment. Food wastes decompose slowly, which allows the decomposed material to break down into carbon-rich compounds known as humus. These compounds are the basis of most plant life, including human feces and other organic material.
By using this type of process, your food waste stream undergoes what is called the “humeral” stage, in which the organic matter decomposes slowly and creates a highly rich soil structure. This highly structured soil structure will attract beneficial microbes that will help sustain plant life and add nutrients back into your soil. These microbes are actually good for the environment, as they help to aerate and enrich the soil, which improves water quality, reduces air and soil pollution, increases fertility, prevents erosion, improves crop yields, prevents soil compaction, and provides a buffer zone for microbial diversity. After the humeral stage, the decomposition process slows considerably, allowing the food waste to decay slowly and naturally away from the public eye. This process of aerobic composting converts food waste into a high quality, highly bio-available fertilizer.