Alright, we said that we had serious concerns about climate change. We’ve heard that heat trapping greenhouse gases are among the most damaging to our atmosphere and we wanted to stop talking and start doing something about it.
We learned that for every pound of food or other organic waste that we send to the landfill produces roughly 1,500 lbs. of carbon dioxide and methane. These two greenhouse gases account for nearly 85% of all the heat trapping gases.
It was a logical thought progression that made us of composting facilities as being the answer to this problem. After all, most have us have used compost before and are aware what a good soil amendment it makes. It seemed like a natural, a real “no brainer”
The unfortunate discovery is that these composting facilities are creating about the same amount of carbon dioxide and methane emissions as the landfill.
Yes, you read that correct.
According to Dr. Sandy Brown, Research Associate Professor at the University of Washington, "only 25% of the carbon is retained in the composting process. The remaining 75% of the carbon contained in composted materials is released into the atmosphere…”
Think about it a moment.
Many of you know from personal experience that you start off with a big pile of organic waste made up of grass clippings, food waste, leaves etc., and at the end of the summer there is only a small pile left. Where did it all go? It went “Up!”
Up into the atmosphere in the form of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane.
So where is the logic in that?
We are not cutting our carbon emissions AT ALL when we use open air composting facilities to process food waste.
Here is what we missed before.
It’s not the traditional “open-air” composting where the waste is mixed and then laid out in huge rows, but rather “closed-air” composting that eliminates greenhouse gases and produces an even more
dynamic soil amendment.
Open-air composting makes use of naturally occurring aerobic bacteria to breakdown solids into basic elements.
Closed-air composting (that's us) makes use of naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria to breakdown solids without releasing greenhouse gases.
Which sounds better to you?
Now a few may say, "What is anaerobic bacteria?"
But I am willing to wager that you will be more familiar with the anaerobic bacteria by it's scientific name, lactobacillus.
These are the same friendly little guys that allow us to make everything from pickles to cheese, wine to yogurt.
Anaerobic bacteria ferments foods naturally and we know that fermentation preserves nutrients. At the same time it creates healthy probiotics for our bodies.
This is the same for food waste that is “fermented”.
It retains the nutrients while creating vast populations of probiotics that help heal our soils while eliminating greenhouse gas production.