Composting is a great method of caring for your soil quality that’s also easy to implement in your home or commercial office. Keeping your food scraps and green waste from taking up space in landfills improves the nutrients of your soil and benefits the ecosystem. By thoughtfully disposing of your organic waste, you can also stop passively contributing to global warming by reducing the amount of harmful, methane gas from being released into the air from organic material decaying in a landfill. Incorporating compost practices is simple and as leading environmental consultants in Melbourne, we are here to help. Here are three methods of composting for you to utilise in your home or workplace to be more environmentally conscious!
Origins of composting
Evidence of composting has been noted in texts dating back to the early Roman Empire. It began as a relatively low-maintenance method, in which farmers would pile organic materials on a field and ignore the field of waste until the next planting season in the following year. After a whole year of the field being unused, the food scraps and animal manure would have decayed enough to be ready to be mixed into the soil. This method had many disadvantages including wasting field space and a lack of pest and disease control.
Since this foundational understanding, composting technology has been tailored and improved across Europe and India in the early 20th century. Now all composting methods use an aerobic, anaerobic or vermicomposting technique and farmers do not have to wait a whole year to reap the benefits of quality soil. The widely used method of windrow composting involves agricultural farmers piling all of their biodegradable waste and organic matter into long rows.
These rows require turning, easily done with specialist machinery, to assure quick compost production so that the field can be ready by the next crop rotation. On a smaller scale, composting can easily be introduced to offices and corporate buildings to be mixed into the soil, improving the environment and your outdoor surroundings.
Vermicomposting for small workplaces
Vermicomposting is the use of worm farms to create nutrient-rich and high-quality soil from organic materials. It is a very popular form of composting for homes and businesses, as it does not require a garden and is a fairly low-maintenance practice. This method could easily be implemented in your office by including a green waste bin in your kitchen, which is then emptied into an outdoor compost container filled with worms. There are many purpose-built worm farm kits available, or this composting technique can be simply constructed using three boxes.
The two top boxes will need holes in the base and act as feeder boxes using composting worms such as tiger worms. The bottom box will need to be watertight to catch the liquids expelled by the worms or ‘worm tea’, which can be watered down to create an excellent organic fertiliser. Vermicomposting is inexpensive to set up with easy maintenance every couple of days. It is a practical way to encourage environmental awareness in the workplace and reduce your workplace’s landfill contribution.
Mechanical composting for larger commercial offices
Specialist compost machinery would suit commercial offices or businesses that create large amounts of food scraps and bioorganic waste. The in-house system avoids sending your waste off to council tips and rapidly produces semi-composted waste within a 24-hour period. The fast and efficient mechanical composting system creates heat and automatically rotates the organic material to quickly create nutrient-rich soil.
These machines are low maintenance and come in many shapes and sizes to suit residential homes and larger businesses, but it does require monitoring and emptying by hand. Unfortunately, the organic waste is also not fully decomposed and will require collection for further composting (perhaps in collaboration with a community garden), but combined with further recycling practices it works towards making your workplace more environmentally friendly.
Larger scale composting systems
Larger blocks or rural businesses have the opportunity to produce larger quantities of compost. This could include an open-air composting technique that uses a large bay or a bin with aeration holes. Worms will naturally be attracted to this composting system, so they will not need to be sourced, but to avoid snakes, rats and other pests, only worm friendly food can be added to the open-air collection.
This method also requires ongoing maintenance including monitoring, watering, manual turning for aeration and spreading of the compost. Open-air composting methods can also take up a fair amount of space, particularly if you implement a three-bin rotation system to speed up the composting process. The risk of smell and the unsightly nature of open-air compost would be best for isolated corners of larger commercial blocks and not the smaller plots of inner suburbs.
Professional environmental consultants in Melbourne
As environmental consultants in Melbourne, Alpha Environmental can offer professional advice regarding your commercial site’s soil, groundwater and mould as well as provide site assessment and remediation options to ensure your business’ environmental needs are met.
If you’d like to know more about what our environmental consultants can do for you, then please don’t hesitate to contact us by filling out the form on our website or by calling 1300 039 181.