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What is composting? Composting is a natural process which can mean different things to different people. The term ‘composting’ is used to describe a wide range of activities, from a heap of manure at the bottom of a garden to sophisticated treatment processes for commercial wastes and is designed to reduce the quantity of organic waste sent to landfills.

Community composting sites tend to be relatively small. A typical site may process up to 200 tonnes of material a year. Commercial sites, where composting is specifically a business activity, or local authority sites set up to divert biodegradable material from landfill are much larger. With some of the larger sites processing tens of thousands of tonnes each year, materials handling equipment and systems become a necessity.

The purity of the product is very important and is graded according to its organic purity. Glass is the main product that needs to be eliminated to produce a compost that is pure enough for sale. This has caused a few problems with some main commercial composting facilities therefore rendering the compost to be used for capping material until a solution can be found.

But put simply, the microbes break down large molecules into smaller ones that they can use as food. This releases heat energy, water and carbon dioxide during the breakdown as by-products and it is this heat that causes the temperature to rise, which is why compost heaps are often warm and steamy.

Here are 5 reasons why everyone should consider composting:

1. Composting reduces the environmental impact of having to incinerate organic waste.

2. Organic material can form up to 1/3 of our weekly waste. Without composting, this goes straight to landfill. Composting minimises our landfill waste and recycles it back into our gardens.

3. Organic waste which is dumped in landfill rather than composted stagnates and produces methane and toxic run-off which contaminates soil and groundwater.

4. Composting can successfully be carried out at any level, from multi-acre commercial or municipal windrows to simple backyard bins.

5. Composting is fun, easy and very satisfying.

Composting is a fun and environmentally-friendly activity. It’s something anyone can do to make a positive contribution to helping the environment.

Albion Environmental Ltd can advise if you have any composting problems. We have experience in helping our clients achieving PAS100:2005 status.

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