How to Handle Organic Wastes
With an increasing interest in organic foods, organic waste diversion is a growing concern in landfills. The constantly burgeoning world population has seen food production growing so intensive and millions of tons of food wastes and agricultural wastes produced every year. Due to this, some states have enacted green waste restrictions and bans against landfill disposal while others have only mandated landfill diversion for certain organic material.
Apart from the fact that organic wastes are increasingly and unnecessarily filling landfills, irresponsible organic waste management can be harmful. Decomposing organic materials produce methane gas – one of the greenhouse gases of great concern as it is 20 times more damaging than carbon dioxide. The gas is also associated with fire outbreaks.
With that example of irresponsible handling of organic wastes, here are peaks into how the challenges can be abated.
Minimize Waste Production
Creating awareness and encouraging people to cut on food and agricultural waste instead of trying to put up with later waste management stages serves better. Policies and incentives should prioritize food waste prevention. Most foods end up as waste at the consumer level. Instances of avoidable food wastes pilling up in a skip bag is a growing concern.
Food Waste Recycling
Several cities and municipalities are adopting organic waste collection programs that pick food and plant wastes from residents and businesses, and recycle the materials to minimize volumes being sent into landfills. These practices immensely contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions released by decomposing food materials at the landfill. Most of the organic waste programs comply with operations of waste removal companies that utilize services like man and van, skip bag and skip hire to collect and move these waste materials to designated sites for further handling.
These programs have two main goals; to increase the diversion of recyclable materials from the landfill and prevent yard debris from being used as landfill cover. Residents can also be provided with free bins to collect and separate organic waste from regular garbage.
Compost is vital in returning nutrients to the increasingly depleting soil and support moisture retention thereby boosting plants’ productivity. There have been cases of compost manure increasing production by 15-25% without relying on chemical fertilizers. Composting significantly reduces the release of methane to the air during the breakdown of organic matter. Instead of sending chunks of degradable organic wastes to a heap at landfills, managing the composting process can turn out as one of the viable options of handling these degradable materials. Some families have even overturned compost business to earn revenue and support local food security.
While composting occurred in the presence of air, biogas production is rather anaerobic. The organic waste is decomposed in controlled conditions in a sealed container or tank. The resultant biogas is suitable for varied uses. Biogas can be utilized locally for cooking as well as lighting (when well harnessed). The resultant digest is a bio-fertilizer, also utilized as a supplement for food production.
Integrated Resource Recovery Centers (IRRC)
These are more decentralized small-scale waste recovery facilities that rely on low-cost techniques to recover resources from wastes – not limited to organic wastes. The whole operation might be comprised of small-scale composting and anaerobic digestion; natural filtration systems; and recovery and sorting of recyclable materials. IRRCs can be designed to receive segregated or non-segregated wastes of varying quantities and qualities.