The Compost Cycle
The expansion and image describe the process of compost from your curbside bin to the processing facility and back to you through produce or even compostable plastics!! You can click the title above to view larger image!
Step 1; Food scraps, yard trimmings, even newspapers are discarded into your home compost bin!
Step 2; When the time comes, take your compost bin to the curb to be collected by your local compost heroes
Step 3; On collection days, your local compost collecters take your compost to the local composting facility
Step 4; Here in Boulder A-1 Organics collect, process and screen your compost for any pesky contaminates and then start the compost process
Step 5; After time of mixing and watering which keeps the decomposition process moving, your compostable inputs leave the facility as nutrient rich soil and mulch!
Step 6; Soils and mulches are used for farming to grow some hearty crops
Step 7; These crops are turned into healthy food products which can be consumed or even used to make more compostable products!
The process of backyard composting is fairly simple, but it takes some care and a bit of attention to get the best results; fresh, nutrient-rich soils.
Step 1; Either build your own, or buy yourself a compost bin (refer to Off Campus Composting for examples)
Step 2; Collect your household food scraps from egg shells to banana peels, coffee grinds, shredded newspaper, yard trimmings (such as grass clippings, dead leaves, wood chips), etc. However, it may be a good idea to leave out meat, dairy and fish products as they can attract pests and take longer to breakdown
Step 3; Toss all of these scraps into your compost pit and mix it up
Step 4; After mixing, water it down a bit, but just to get it a bit moist! You don't want it too wet or it'll be a gross and muddy mess
Step 5; Remember to add fresh material to keep those bacteria happy! Also, mix it and water it at least once a week. A good way to check if your compost pile needs watering is to grab a handful of the material and feel if it is moist, if it is, your good!!
Step 6; After attending to your compost pile for a few months, your resulting product should be rich, dark soil that smells of fresh earth!
Step 7; Feed your garden and let your fruits and veggies know that you love them
The Industrial Composting Process is a bit more complicated than backyard composting. This is because of the various, hard to compost materials that they accept, such as the #7 PLA plastics that we have on the CU campus. The expansion below explains the process of our local compost collector, A1 organics, from start to finish;
Step 1; The compost is collected from curbside bins as well as from restaurants, corporations and the CU campus
Step 2; The compost is brought to A1 organics where it is sorted
Step 3a; The food wastes and nitrogen rich materials are put into a compactor where it is churned into a nitrogen rich sludge; this is so it can be mixed well with the carbon rich products (paper products)
Step 3b; Compostable plastics are melted down back to their corn starch base so they can be reformed into new compostable products by companies like EcoProducts
Step 4; Next, the carbon and nitrogen organics are placed into huge rows which are watered and mixed everyday to keep the process moving and efficient
Step 5; After some time of this continous mixing and watering, a nutrient rich, dark soil is the final product ready to be sent to farms or even companies like EcoProducts who can turn this compost into reusable materials
Hints and Tips for Composting
1. Keep a small composting bucket in your kitchen to collect food scraps. If you don't want to clean your bin regularly, then line the bucket with a compostable bag. The bag can easily be tied closed and disposed of in your compost cart and it will break down just as well as the goods inside!
2. We have heaps of experience, and it has revealed that the kitchen compost buckets with air holes reduces odors.
3. Yard waste, like leaves and sticks and stuff, can be thrown in your backyard compost bin too
Nobody wants fruit flies! Try these steps to avoid those pesky buggers;
- keep the container in your freezer
- empty food waste regularly
- give it a nice rinse when it starts looking ugly
- line the container with a compostable bag (available in 13-, 32-, 64, and 96-gallon bag)
- sprinkle a bit of baking soda in there
- rub the lid with vinegar
- layer shredded paper with food and yard waste