Going Green: Home composting
The Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency’s composting plant deals in tons of compostable material brought in by the truckload but homeowners can do their part to reduce landfill waste and return organics to the soil.
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Greg Geleski, OCCRA recycling operations manager said, “The home composter traditionally uses yard waste for composting, clippings, their plant and shrub clippings. When they change over their mulches they often incorporate that into their composting process.”
Composting at home can include your typical vegetable waste and some plate scrapings. But for home composters that’s really a cold compost process so you need to stay away from meats, and dairy (products). Also, fats and oils and greases because they will suffocate a compost program. Oxygen is the key to composting. If you’re getting foul odors even from a commercial unit it means you’re going anaerobic. It’s sign of a lack of oxygen and that could be because it’s too wet and there’s no pore space and it’s not breathing or it’s totally just too dense so turning it adds oxygen and the microorganisms break everything down.
OCCRA can handle food waste composting because instead of turning the pile to add oxygen they use a system of pumps and piping to constantly move air through the mixture which means they can produce certified compost in 60 to 90 days while it takes the home composter about 12 months.
Geleski said, “Far less waste going to the actual waste stream and then you have the environmental benefit of returning that nutrient back to the soil. I’m a big proponent of there’s no green infrastructure and there’s no low-impact development without organics.