What's so special about compost, anyway?
We do food-waste pickup in the Midland, Michigan area. With passion. Why are we doing that? Glad you asked! It's all about compost! What we call "composting" is the natural breakdown of complex biochemical structures (that's the food-waste part) into simpler, less complex organic compounds that are immediately usable by all sorts of plants including food crops and home gardens. It's about recycling the pure energy that nature provides us in sunlight and putting it back into growing new plants!
There's Gold Going Down Your Drain!
Food-waste that goes into the kitchen garbage disposal really is literally wasted. Food waste that is sent down the garbage disposal upsets the balance of biomass in your septic system (and the city sewer system, too) due to the increase of undigested solids added to the mix. These undigested solids tend to be be slow to separate and settle down into the sludge layer (that you will then have to pay to get pumped out) or combine with the floating scum layer (that also has to be pumped out) in the septic tank. If you have a septic system, all that undigested organic material places a heavy burden on your system and may even cause premature system failure - which is never good! Besides that, getting your septic system pumped more frequently is expensive! Those perfectly good organic materials can be "reused" and put back into Nature's biosystem.
Bio-Energy Tossed into the Landfill!
Take a look at this! As you can see, the landfill isn't such a great place for food waste, either. Landfills are necessary, but they have the potential to cause a number of issues. Pollution of the local environment, such as contamination of groundwater or aquifers, and soil contamination may occur. Methane gas is naturally generated by anaerobic decomposition of organic wastes in a landfill. Anaerobic decomp tends to be nitrogen heavy and can be very smelly. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, and can be a danger because it is flammable and potentially explosive. Nearly half of material sent to landfills is compostable. Why throw away such a beneficial resource and stink up the neighborhood?
Nature's Way of Renewing Itself
Yup! We do composting! Here's how it works:
Energy from the sun is stored in plant tissue in the form of complex hydrocarbons - somewhat like electrical energy is stored in a battery. When the plant dies, bacteria go to work and break down the dead plant tissue into simpler compounds that are stored in the soil (compost). These compounds, in turn, are absorbed by the roots of new, growing plants. This process is repeated over and over again. Processing food waste into compost, when done correctly, is clean, odor-free and best of all, good for the planet. The end product is loaded with instantly usable nutrients for plants such as food crops and home gardens. Compost is rich in nutrients and is used in landscaping, horticulture, and agriculture. Compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways; as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil. In ecosystems, compost is useful for erosion control, land and stream reclamation and for wetland construction. Compost is pretty cool stuff!
Send In the Worms!
We also do vermicomposting! Check out these little guys, below!
Vermicomposting is the product or process of composting using various worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast. Vermicast, also called "worm castings", worm humus or worm manure, is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by an earthworm. Worm castings have been shown to contain reduced levels of contaminants and a higher saturation of nutrients than do organic materials before vermicomposting.
Containing water-soluble nutrients, vermicompost is an excellent, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner.