Rocket® composter
 
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Composting is one of nature’s ways of reducing waste and creating an alternative form of food for other plants and animals.  

 
Introduction 
The need to recycle organic waste has been increasingly recognized worldwide in order to provide a useable material rather than a waste product. It is also minimizes the amount of organic waste that goes to landfills each year. 

We believe that treating organic waste onsite is the ideal option. There are many variables involved when putting together an organic waste diversion program. Each site is different, with its own nuances and challenges, facing many restrictions such as limited space, no green areas, only one feed stock, too much of one feed stock, labor, capital investment, etc. There are onsite sustainable solutions available for each site, no matter the complexity of your operation; it is only a matter of selecting the ideal solution for your site.
We think that landfill is a short-term solution that contaminates; it comes at a price both to organizations’ bottom line and to the environment. That’s why at NATH Sustainable Solutions our main focus is to divert organic from landfills, providing a number of onsite food waste solutions that not only treat waste by turning it into useful products but also save money in the process and provide environmental benefits. 

There is little to no awareness of the damage caused when sending food waste to landfills. We hardly pay attention when discarding food waste; we do it automatically. In the United States we generate 31.7 million tons of food waste each year; that is 12.5% of the total waste stream and the second largest component of the national waste stream. Only 2.6% of the food waste does not end up in landfills. To put things into perspective, every day in the United States we generate approximately 86,900 metric tons of food waste; that is enough waste to fill 6,310 garbage trucks. Every day each person sends approximately 1/2 pound of food waste to the garbage; that is the equivalent of four regular apples!. 

Yard trimmings and food residuals together constitute 23 percent of the U.S. waste stream, as documented by EPA. An estimated 56.9 percent of yard trimmings were recovered for composting or grasscycled in 2000, a dramatic increase from the 12 percent recovery rate in 1990. Accompanying this surge in yard waste recovery is a composting industry that has grown from less than 1,000 facilities in 1988 to nearly 3,800 in 2000. Once dominated by public sector operations, the composting industry is increasingly entrepreneurial and private-sector driven, led by firms that add value to compost products through processing and marketing. 

While yard trimmings recovery typically involves leaf compost and mulch, yard trimmings can also be combined with other organic waste, such as food residuals, animal manure, and biosolids to produce a variety of products with slightly different chemical and physical characteristics. In contrast to yard trimmings recovery, only 2.6 percent of food waste was composted in 2000. The cost-prohibitive nature of residential food waste separation and collection is the primary deterant to expanding food waste recovery efforts. Yet in many communities, edible food residuals are donated to the needy, while inedible food residuals are blended into compost or reprocessed into animal feed. In some areas, composting operations are working with high-volume commercial and institutional food producers to recover their food byproducts, saving these firms significant disposal costs. 

Source: Unites States Environmental Protection Agency 

Many government authorities worldwide are encouraging composting at domestic and industrial levels before it gets to the Municipal waste site and forming community composting organizations. Municipal composting has inherent difficulties which include separation of undesirable materials, such as plastic, glass and metal – not to mention hypodermic needles. The difficulty in producing quality compost is great so that most of the time the end product can only be used for spreading on farm land. 

It is therefore a great advantage if composting can be carried out on a smaller scale, adjacent to where the organic waste is produced and preferably where the waste producer has an interest in the composting process as they have a greater incentive to use waste, free from non compostable objects. 

The Rocket® composter was developed originally to overcome the problems of making high quality compost on a domestic and small industrial scale. It was designed to ensure that all of the required outcomes for good composting can be met. 

 
Composting reduces the demand for landfill sites.
Apart from being offensive and unsightly, especially for people living nearby, landfill sites are expensive and have to be paid for either by industry or local council taxpayers. They produce unpleasant odours despite the greatest efforts of the managers to avoid them and can release greenhouse gases like methane. It is up to 25 times more potent, per ton, than CO2 in causing global warming.
Compost improves soil structure.
Both water holding capacity and fertility are improved by adding humus to sandy soil while heavy clay soils gain improved structure and porosity.
Compost Helps Suppress Disease.
Various scientific studies show that the addition of helpful micro organisms present in the compost help plants to fight disease and some of the effects are quite dramatic. Work done at the University of California (1994-2000) highlighted the suppression of Brown Rot in Peaches, End Rot in Onions and Avocado Root Rot.
Compost reduces the need for pesticides.
Tests have shown up to 90% reduction in whitefly and complete elimination of aphids and red spider mite. They believe it is because the compost activates natural plant repellents.
Compost reduces the need for artificial fertilizers. 
By providing natural growth promotion, NPK fertilizers are less necessary and in agriculture, the run off of fertilizers into water courses are also reduced and nutrients from compost are less likely to leach out.
Compost reduces costs. 
The need to purchase soil improvers, compost and artificial fertilizers is reduced.
Compost suppresses weeds.
When used as a mulch, a layer of compost will help suppress weeds by reducing the amount of available light. Properly made compost will not contain weed seeds, but will also provide soil nutrients. Un-composted mulches e.g. woodchip or bark can reduce nitrogen levels in the soil and cause damage to plants, however compost used slightly before it is mature is extremely valuable for Vermiculture.
Compost helps to preserve Peat stocks. 
It is regularly reported that peat stocks are approaching extinction with current levels being down to 4%. Whatever the figure is, it is undoubtedly a finite resource and replacement products are needed. In this regard, a ‘Gardening Which’ report (Jan/Feb 2001) shows germination of Impatiens (Busy Lizzies) seeds in peat free or reduced peat compost is down to a minimum of 30% compared to minimum 54% in peat based material. Correctly made natural compost does not suffer this deficiency.
Compost enables organic horticulture.
Although there is a need to assure that no substances banned by the Soil Association are included in waste to be composted, properly made compost is the very basis of organic horti/agriculture.
Compost can eliminate digging. 
Compost used as mulch will be dragged into the soil by earthworms. This helps with soil aeration as well as with providing the required nutrients and in shrubby borders it can remove the need to dig.

 

 


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