Composting : Composting toilets | Composters | Dry toilets | Dry separating toilets | Commercial composters

kitchen waste recycling and garden waste recycling


To aid the composting process, we can assist nature by creating the perfect environment for micro-organisms, which decompose the kitchen and garden waste materials. The waste is decomposed primarily by the bacteria, fungi, ray fungi and earthworms assisted by a number of diverse micro-organisms.
As a result of the micro-organisms activity, water/vapour, carbon dioxide, nutrients and heat energy is released from the composting mass. At the same time, organic matter is created, which is important for the fertility of the soil. For nutrition, the micro-organisms in the compost feed on the waste being composted, which in turn generates heat in the compost. As a result, the temperature of the compost can rise to as high as 70-80 degrees centigrade, which is advantageous in terms of building up high-quality compost soil.

Composting happens in three phases:
  1. warming phase
  2. hot phase
  3. cooling phase     
The occurrence of the phases depends on the waste being composted and the method applied.

In the heating phase the compost is occupied by bacteria and ray fungi. As their nutrition they use the "true delicacies" in the compost, such as sugars and proteins. In the heating phase the compost becomes sour, i.e. its pH-value decreases. Subsequently, the sourness is balanced so that the pH-value of the ready compost is close to neutral (pH 7).

A well-functioning compost heats up to 30-50 degrees centigrade in a few days. Then the decomposers of the first stage give way. Bacteria and ray fungi accustomed to hot conditions occupy the compost and use the easy decomposing nutrients in it as their nutrition. Thanks to this "cheap energy", the temperature of the compost may even rise to as high as 85 degrees centigrade! The hot phase in general only lasts a few weeks.

Running out of easy decomposing nutrition is followed by an "energy crisis"; the temperature of the compost starts to drop. New decomposers occupy the compost. Then fungi and ray fungi start rotting substances that are difficult to decompose, such as, for example, wood. Familiar mushrooms, such as champignons and inky caps, may grow in the compost. Mould fungi are also an essential part of a well-functioning compost. During the cooling phase other types of life can also be observed in the compost by the naked eye: dung worms, beetles, millipedes etc. The cooling phase lasts a long time, even several months. This is the phase when organic matter starts forming in the compost.

The different phases are more distinct, if the composter is filled up in one go. Also in a composter for household waste, which is filled continuously, all the phases are visible in layers of different age.

Proper functioning of the compost also requires that suitable bedding is used. It keeps the compost airy and absorbs odours and excessive moisture. When composting garden waste, which is poor in nutrients, it may become necessary to incorporate nutrients among the waste.

Adding bedding is absolutely necessary in particular when composting household waste. It is also advisable to apply coarser substance in between the garden waste that tends to pack up, such as lawn mowing waste or leaves.

The most common beddings are:

Branch chips
By chopping or chipping the branches in your yard you can get excellent bedding for the compost. The chips keep the compost very airy. Branch chips generate plenty of organic matter, which creates a good soil conditioner with a long-lasting effect.

Garden litter
Garden waste ( leaves and grass etc ) is good for compost bedding provided that it contains coarse materials, such as tree needles, hay, moss etc. Also tree needle litter from forest paths makes excellent bedding.

On it's own it has too fine a consistence and should be mixed with coarser bedding.

It efficiently absorbs excessive moist and odours. The smell of ammonia can be eliminated using sour peat. The peat used in compost should be as coarse as possible, non-fertilized and non-limed. As such the peat packs up too much and, therefore, it pays to mix it with, for example, branch chips or cutter chips. Make sure the peat is quite dry so that it will not freeze in the bedding container in winter.

Milled bark
The dried and crushed bark of coniferous trees. It makes a good bedding that combines the ability to absorb odours of the peat and the airy consistency of chips. It is used in particular in toilets, but also in the household waste composts. Biolan Komposti and Huussi Dry Bedding is a ready-for-use bedding made of dried and milled bark and peat.

Old compost can be used as bedding, if it still contains non-decomposed coarse substance.
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