Composting

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What is composting?

Composting is a natural process and is used to describe a wide range of activities, from a heap of manure at the bottom of a garden to sophisticated treatment processes for commercial wastes. Although the biological principles remain the same regardless of the amount being composted, the practice becomes quite different as quantities increase.

The Process

Compost is the end product of a complex feeding pattern involving hundreds of different organisms, including bacteria, fungi, worms and insects. What remains after these organisms break down is an organic material that is rich and earthy and a substance the soil loves.

Humus is the goal of composting.

The essential elements required by the composting micro-organisms are carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and moisture. If any of these elements are lacking, or if they are not provided in the proper proportion, the micro-organisms will not flourish and will not provide an adequate heat.

A composting process operating at optimum performance will convert organic matter into stable compost that is odour and pathogen free, and a poor breeding substrate for flies and other insects.

Green waste deposited at the Site is split into two bays. Branches in one and grass and old commercial compost in the other.

The twiggy waste is put into the machine to be shredded and churned.

The site piles the mix up into `‘windrows’ that are ‘turned’ and watered (if needed) to sustain the conditions required by aerobic composting micro-organisms.

During the first few weeks the temperature of the pile increases dramatically due to microbe generated heat. This high-temperature phase is very important because it destroys unwanted weed seeds and pathogens (both animal and plant), a process known as ‘sanitisation’.

Once all the readily available nutrients have been utilised by the micro-organisms, the temperature of the composting materials will begin to decrease

After approximately 16 weeks, the composting process is completed by grading through a wire mesh to achieve a suitable particle size.

Our soil conditioner is put through a 10mm screen to produce a finer material; much of the litter, stone or larger twiggy bits are discarded.

The rejected material is used to suppress weeds around the outside of the Site.

Compost is sampled and tested by the Government Labs. We are aiming for the product to conform to the compost specification PAS 100.

The tests look at; human pathogens and potentially toxic elements, physical contaminants, stability, weed propagules.

Plant response when grown in compost is required to be at least 80% compared with those growing in peat controls and not show any abnormalities.

The whole testing process takes several weeks. More information can be found at www.wrap.org.uk

It is important the green waste brought to the site is kept free of contaminants such as plastic, string, metals, stone etc. Large quantities of soil or turf are best recycled elsewhere-please ask for advice. Noxious weeds such as Cushag, Japanese Knotweed etc. must be burnt.

Palm does not rot down well and can cause damage to the shredding machine so this should be burnt too.

The Site cannot accept Elm please contact DEFA for further advice on 801263.

Branches bigger than a 5/6 inch diameter cannot be shredded. Small roots with soil go on the burnable pile. Large roots can only go to Landfill and this involves a small charge.

Site Compost

Screened compost is available  at £2.50 a bag, or 5 bags for £10. Larger quantities are available upon request loose at £40 a tonne plus VAT.

Discretionary Loading charge of £5 plus VAT.

Our compost is suitable for:

• Improving the soil structure and creating a better root environment for plants

• Increasing moisture infiltration and moisture holding capacity in lighter soils

• Providing a variety of nutrients

• Providing organic matter to improve soil structure

• Supplying beneficial bacteria that assist nutrient uptake and help suppress soil borne diseases

• Improving plant health, from germination, through growth and to maturity

• Improving resistance to soil compaction and erosion

• Improving the control of weeds

Compost is  GENERALLY AVAILABLE on a daily Basis.


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