If you follow the news, you might assume that the only way to deal with garbage is to compost it. After all, an article about a new landfill or waste management facility can’t go by without at least one reference to composting as a potential solution to our waste problems. What exactly is composting? It’s when a mixture of organic materials (usually plant-based) breaks down over time into smaller particles and simpler chemicals, through the action of microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. These microorganisms are present in almost any environment with decaying plants — from your backyard compost pile to a remote forest. When we talk about composting as a solution for dealing with our garbage, what we mean is using microorganisms on organic waste streams to accelerate their decomposition into humus (or finished compost).
What Does Composting Have to Do With Garbage?
Composting as a solution to our garbage problems isn’t a new idea. In fact, many of the first garbage disposal facilities were built around composting technologies. These facilities would collect raw organic garbage, mix it with straw and periodically turn it, creating compost from the waste. The idea was to convert organic waste into a product that could be used for a variety of purposes — for example, to fertilize farmland or re-grow forest ecosystems. While these composting facilities were effective in reducing the amount of waste being put into landfills, there were still issues with the approach. Composting raw organic garbage creates an inconsistent product with varying levels of pathogen and heavy metal contamination. These imperfections have prevented compost from becoming a universally accepted solution.
The Problem With Garbage
The fact that garbage has to be managed at all sounds strange. After all, humans have been producing organic waste for thousands of years. Why did we ever start throwing it away? The answer lies in the fact that there are only a few places on Earth where organic waste can naturally decompose in a timely manner. These are generally warm places that receive a lot of rainfall and aren’t too far away from the sea. The most obvious place is the tropics where warm temperatures and abundant rainfall make it easy for organic waste to decompose. Tropical regions also have diverse ecosystems that can effectively use the nutrients from decaying plant matter; this helps prevent the buildup of excess nutrients that can harm aquatic ecosystems. Wholesale compost suppliers
Why Isn’t Composting Garbage Working?
Composting is what happens naturally over time in the tropics, but the same approach can’t be applied to colder regions. To compost in colder areas, people have to actively make the environment warm and humid. For example, composting facilities need to provide the moisture and warmth that microorganisms need to speed up decomposition. This warmth and humidity, however, can also be a problem.
What Could Actually Be Done About It?
The real solution to our garbage problems lies in the fact that there are only a few places on Earth where organic waste can naturally decompose in a timely manner. The solution is to change the way we produce and manage our waste so that it can be used in myriad ecosystems around the world. The most obvious place that we can start is with colder regions. Instead of managing organic waste as a single stream, we can create products that can be used in a variety of ecosystems. This can be done through a process called lignocellulose conversion. Lignocellulose conversion is a chemical process that breaks down the main components of plant biomass into simple sugars. This liquid can then be fermented into a variety of products, including biofuels and bioplastics.
Composting is a great way to manage organic waste when it can be used in an ecosystem. Unfortunately, this is only possible in the tropics. To deal with our garbage problems, we need to manage organic waste in a way that can be used in a variety of ecosystems. We can do this through lignocellulose conversion, which allows us to break down the main components of plant biomass into simple sugars. These sugars can then be fermented into a wide range of products, including biofuels, bioplastics, and a variety of materials that can be used in colder ecosystems. The next time you hear about composting as a solution to our waste problems, remember that it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Composting is a great way to manage biodegradable waste, but we need to do more to manage other types of waste.
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