Types of Composting
Composting is a natural process of reducing solid waste and reprocessing biodegradable waste. As all the biodegradable ingredients mix and merge, the end product is wonderfully nutritious for the environment.
The following are a few types of composting:
As slimy and repulsive as they may be, a worm is the earth’s best friend. Mumbai is inevitably greeted by the red earthworm during the monsoons and not many people know the significance of these astounding creatures. In a nutshell, worms help the earth breathe and do wonders in the case of composting.When added to your biodegradable waste pile, the worms break it down into compost.
Worms are sensitive creatures and avoid extreme temperatures. So make sure that your vermicomposting piles are in the shade and not in direct sunlight. Extreme cold will also affect the vermicomposting, hence it is best to place the pile in an indoor garden. Keeping the worms alive should be your main priority.
2) Aerated Windrow Composting
In this process, biodegradable waste is placed in long rows called windrows. The pile is turned periodically, either manually or mechanically. The ideal height of the pile should be between 4 and 8 feet, while the width should be between 14 and 16 feet. This helps maintain temperatures and allows oxygen to circulate through the pile.
If it gets too hot, place the compost under shelter. This will prevent water from evaporating. However, cold weather does not affect the compost.
During this process of composting, a liquid called Leachate is released. This liquid will contaminate your ground-water and surface-water supplies. It should be collected and treated. Samples of windrow composting should be tested for bacterial and metal content in a laboratory and the bad odour also needs to be controlled.
Windrow requires a large stretch of land, good equipment and an efficient supervisor to keep a close eye on the pile.
3) Aerated Static Composting
In this process of composting, the waste is placed in one large pile. Add layers of wood chips or shredded newspaper to aerate the pile. This will help air pass from the bottom of the pile to the top.
Aerated Static Composting also loses moisture during the heat and needs to be either covered or placed indoors.But in the case of cold temperatures, it is advisable that you keep the pile indoors with good ventilation.
This process of composting is a passive method because there is no physical turning. The pile must be monitored regularly to make sure the temperature trough out the pile is constant. The best way to get rid of the bad odour is to add a thick layer offinished compost over the pile.This method of composting produces compost within 3 to 6 months which is rather quick compared to the other methods.
4) In-Vessel Composting
In this method, biodegradable waste is stored in an apparatus in which the temperature, moisture, and aeration are easily and closely controlled. This drum like apparatus turns the waste ensuring the efficient ventilation for the pile. The pile in this process consists of large amounts of waste, but takes up as much space as the windrow method. Organic wastes such meat, animal manure, bio-solids, food scraps are all part of the pile.
The carefully controlled environment allows this process of composting to persist during all seasons. The odour and Leachate released is also minimal. Although this process is most efficient, it is very expensive and requires technical assistance. It also uses less land and doest no need constant supervision.
These are four useful types of composting and can play a major role in improving the quality of soil.