Composting: everything you need to know about this eco-friendly technique to reduce your waste

I. Introduction

Composting is an ecological and sustainable method of valorizing organic waste by transforming it into a natural fertilizer called compost. This technique involves allowing the microorganisms present in the composted materials to naturally decompose with the help of oxygen and water to produce nutrient-rich soil.

Not only does composting help reduce the volume of waste, but it also contributes to environmental preservation by limiting greenhouse gas emissions associated with waste treatment. Additionally, compost is an excellent natural fertilizer that improves soil quality and promotes plant growth, making it an ideal solution for gardeners.

In this article, we will learn everything about composting, from its definition to its benefits for the planet and garden, to the different techniques for home or industrial composting.

Sceau Gris avec écrit compost sur fond bleu avec plein d'épluchures qui sortent

II. How to Compost at Home?

Home composting is an eco-friendly solution to reduce your waste while producing a natural fertilizer for your garden. To help you succeed, here are the compostable waste items to put in your compost bin:
  • Fruit and vegetable peels
  • Crushed eggshells
  • Tea bags, coffee grounds, and filter (if made of paper)
  • Dead leaves, plants, and flowers
  • Hay, grass clippings, and weeds (previously dried)
  • Pruned wood and brush (finely cut)
  • Paper, cardboard, and cellulose-based fabrics (tissues, paper towels, newspaper, etc.)

It’s important to avoid colored parts that may contain heavy metals, and not add:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Dairy products
  • Oils or fats

Some products are also compostable at home and are recognizable by the “OK Home Compost” label. You can add fruit and vegetable bags or cardboard packaging with this label in your compost bin.

To succeed in composting, it’s important to mix the waste items well and regularly aerate them to promote decomposition. You can also moisten your compost to maintain optimal moisture levels. Be sure to mix at least once every two weeks during the first two months to obtain a homogeneous compost.

By following these simple tips, you can produce your own natural compost to feed your garden while reducing your waste.

Homme qui vide son compost chez lui

III. Industrial Composting

Industrial composting is a large-scale composting method that allows for the processing of large quantities of organic waste in a relatively short amount of time. This technique enables the recycling of food and green waste produced by businesses, communities, and industries.

1. Steps of industrial composting

Industrial composting takes place in several stages:
  1. Organic waste is collected and sorted to eliminate non-compostable materials.
  2. The materials are crushed and mixed to obtain a homogeneous and balanced mix of carbon and nitrogen.
  3. The compost is then placed in silos, where it is regularly stirred and aerated to promote the decomposition of the materials.
  4. Finally, the compost is sifted to eliminate undesirable elements and obtain a quality compost.

2. Industrial compostable materials and their identification with the EN 13432 and BPI logos

The materials compostable in an industrial setting are the same as for home composting, but with some differences. Indeed, some waste such as citrus, nuts, and bones are not recommended for home but can be composted industrially. Additionally, compostable waste destined for industry must be marked with the EN 13432 or BPI logo to guarantee their compostability.

3. Current status of the industrial composting industry in France

In France, the industrial composting industry is constantly developing. According to ADEME, the Agency for Ecological Transition, in 2019, 2.6 million tons of organic waste were composted industrially, representing a 10% increase from the previous year. This increase is due, in particular, to the implementation of stricter regulations concerning organic waste management and the awareness-raising of businesses on the need to recycle these wastes. However, there are still challenges to be addressed to improve the quality of the produced compost and reduce the environmental impact of industrial composting.
Énorme tas de compost

IV. Conclusion

In conclusion, composting is a simple and effective technique that allows reducing the amount of waste while improving soil quality. Whether it’s at home or on a large scale with industrial composting, this method of organic waste treatment has many environmental benefits.
By composting at home, you can not only reduce the volume of your waste but also produce your own natural fertilizer for your garden. It is important to properly respect compostable materials and regularly aerate your compost to obtain a quality compost.
Industrial composting, on the other hand, allows for the efficient and ecological treatment of large amounts of organic waste. The steps are rigorous and allow obtaining a quality compost for agricultural or horticultural use.
In short, whether you choose to compost at home or to use the industrial composting industry, it’s a sustainable technique that contributes to reducing the environmental impact of organic waste. By adopting this practice, you can take concrete action to preserve the environment and improve the quality of your soil.