What Is Sustainable Composting?

Published Jan 26, 2022

You've heard of it, you may have dabbled in it, and you've probably benefited from it! What are we talking about? Composting, of course!

So, what is compost, exactly? It's a biological method of turning organic debris like leaves and food scraps into beneficial fertilizers to nourish soil and plants.

Have you ever tried to make compost? The process is relatively simple overall, and there are different containers to use and various approaches to try. 

Here at EcoRich, we offer sustainable composting options for businesses and individuals. We're experienced and passionate about the process of composting as a means to keep the earth healthy for generations to come. Composting allows you to manage your food waste and restore minerals to the land naturally.

We'll explore the concept of sustainable composting, its benefits and the many advantages for both the environment and humans alike. It is a positive activity for both organizations and homeowners to participate in, not only for the ecological benefits but also for financial and community-based reasons. 

What Is A Compost Bin?

A compost bin is a receptacle where you can safely create compost, a combination of food waste, natural matter like grass clippings, and leaves. Over time, the organic material breaks down and decomposes into rich fertilizer. It’s best to keep this matter contained in its own separate container explicitly built for composting to help cut down on any smells that can emit from the process. 

For businesses, it is incredibly responsible to add composting to your waste management program. Our commercial models can be adapted to fit the size of your business—we have options that can handle anywhere from 20 to 4000 pounds. 

Automatic loading, compost removal, a crusher/grinder, and a bucket and screw system loadable many times per day are optional features. You can then use the compost you create for horticulture and beautification on-site, sell it, or trade it with local businesses in exchange for gardening or landscaping services.

How To Create And Use Compost Properly 

The material produced by your composting system will be high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are all essential minerals for the fertilization of plants. Add greens (plants, leaves, and vegetable scraps) and browns (like dead leaves, twigs, and branches) to the bins or composting systems.

So, what exactly can you compost? The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has a comprehensive guide that will help determine what is best for creating the healthiest compost. 

Anything organic is easy to compost with an in-vessel commercial composting system like the Elite II accelerated process or Rapido Rotary composter. This system can compost fruits, vegetables, meat, compostable plates, bowls and yard waste.

So, how do you know when compost is ready to use? It needs to reach a specific temperature and moisture before being fully mature. What signs should you look for? The NRDC says

  • Texture: Crumbly and smooth, without recognizable scraps.
  • Smell: Like a forest on a rainy day or rich earth. Traces of ammonia or sour odors mean the compost needs more time to mature.
  • Color: Dark and rich
  • Size: One-third the original size of your pile
  • Temperature: Within 10 degrees Fahrenheit of the temperature outside (especially in the middle of the pile)

Can compost go bad? Not really, but it can become too dry, too wet, or too old. Green Matters has a few tips for that. Add a little water if it's too dry to improve the moisture. If the mixture is overly wet, turn it over and stir it thoroughly, adding dry organic material such as sawdust to capture excess water. When compost becomes too old, some nutrients can be lost. Remedy the issue by placing it in a new compost pile.

Once the process is complete, you can use the compost, also known as black gold, for many purposes, such as these suggestions:

  • Use it as mulch
  • Add it to potting soil
  • Work it into crop beds
  • Distribute it on lawns
  • Mix it into garden beds
  • Feed it to potted plants
  • Add it to the soil around fruit trees

Composting Helps Keep Garbage Levels Lower

How often do you throw out food in your garbage? If you said pretty often, you're not alone. The United States (U.S.) throws out more food than any other country on the planet: nearly 40 million tonnes (80 billion pounds) every year. This amounts to 30-40% of the total food supply in the United States. This figure is estimated to be around 1.3 billion tons globally.

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is produced by organic waste in landfills. Gasses considerably decrease when discarded food and other organisms turn to compost. According to research conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), compost can remove 99.9% of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, from the air, which is beneficial to the environment.

Thankfully, as a country, we are progressing. According to the EPA's most recent statistics from 2018, Americans recycled almost 69 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) and composted about 25 million tons. Recycling is 1.16 pounds per person per day while composting is 0.42 pounds per day.

You can play an essential role in a better future ecosystem by composting on-site with an EcoRich composter—a win-win situation for everyone!

With reduced food waste, more people will have access to food. Fewer vehicle journeys (due to more occasional collections) will result in easier-to-drive and quieter streets at all hours of the day and night and improved air quality.

Composting Lets You Enjoy The Outdoors Even More

An essential part of the composting process is collecting the brown matter, including leaves, twigs, and other matter that can help keep your compost moist. 
Another fringe benefit? You can get outside to enjoy the fresh air, plant life, and atmosphere, which is not only good for the body but the soul as well.
Whether you need a reliable bin and system to use or are new to the world of composting, our team at EcoRich would be thrilled to help you get started. We have a variety of solutions for you, from apartment sizes right up to industrial sizes.

We've assisted numerous people and organizations with their composting journeys, and we'd love to help you next. Get in touch for any questions you may have, or if you want to discover more about our line of products!

Further Reading