Composting... What exactly is it for? "Another trendy thing to do for the greenies! " We just want to explain the principle to you because it's really worth it! It's an easy thing to do and everyone has something to gain!
But first, what does composting mean?
Composting is the natural decomposition of organic matter. It is a natural process that happens with everything in nature, leaves falling from trees, dead flowers, dead plants, animals... everything is transformed into humus through the combined actions of multiple organisms (animals, bacteria, fungi...). It is a form of mass digestion, which creates humus, the top layer of the soil, which is very rich in nutrients and full of fertilizing properties. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Compost can be seen as a " domesticated " version of humus, i.e. we reproduce this natural cycle by composting our organic waste and using the resulting compost to feed plants. In short, composting is giving back to the earth what it deserves.
Compostable waste makes up about 30% of our trash. It is essentially composed of water and full of nutrients that can feed "living matter" (plants). Therefore, removing it from our bins means less processing, collection and pollution!
Being aware of this reminds us of the importance of preserving our resources and inevitably brings us closer to nature.
The different ways to compost
There are different ways of making and using compost.
We will talk about the individual solutions available to avoid wasting organic matter from meal preparations. Alone, in a family, in a flat, in a house with or without a garden, we do not all have the same needs, limits or possibilities!
The simplest way: compost in the garden
For those lucky enough to have a small plot of land, the simplest solution is to install a garden composter. All you need is a large bin with a lid, pierced at the bottom and placed on the ground. It's easy to do with a large box, slightly sunk into the ground, on which a lid is placed to prevent pests from entering.
Some towns make ready-made composters available to residents. With this solution to composting, there is not much constraint because it is outside and the work is done by itself. Worms and other organisms usually emerge spontaneously (depending on the nature of the soil it may be appropriate to add worms). This solution allows a large volume of treatment and does not take up any space inside. However, an indoor composter can be used as a complement, to have it at hand especially in winter 😉
Some towns have introduced separate collection of bio-waste. This consists of sorting bio-waste separately, usually in a special bag/bin that the town provides for users to collect regularly. It is then processed industrially into compost or biogas (methanisation). In this solution, there is no need to sort the plant from the animal, everything can go. Although this solution has many advantages, it does generate a financial and environmental cost (collection, treatment stations).
Compost at the foot of the building / collective compost
Composting at the foot of the building allows all residents to use a collective composter for their green waste. If it is not already in place in your building, this solution requires the participation of several households in the condominium and must be decided at the General Assembly. Not always easy or at least quick to set up, but nevertheless very practical and user-friendly. The group must have a referent and usually an external facilitator to train the users in good practices.
Some neighbourhoods are equipped with collective composters, perhaps through an association (shared garden for example) or proposed by the city. Access is often limited to specific users in order to avoid problems, so it is advisable to find out more and register to use them.
Finally, whether it is for practical reasons or because there is no collection solution or garden, there are solutions for composting at home, in a cellar, in the kitchen, on the balcony or even in the living room! There are 2 solutions for this.
Vermicomposters are objects that allow you to compost in peace at home. A clue to how they work can be found in the name: they are compost worms, cousins of the famous earthworms, which feed on plant waste and transform it into high-quality, ready-to-use compost. They do not work alone, as the chain is made up of many organisms. These composters (provided you follow a few basic rules) do not generate any odours or nuisances and can therefore be installed wherever you have the space (inside, balcony, terrace). It is practical to have it within reach near the kitchen.
There are different kinds of them, made of different materials (plastic, wood, clay...), and you can even make them yourself for a very reasonable budget. Find out our Composting flower pot (made in France, in terracotta and cork), a composter that contains a growing space for plants that feed on the water and nutrients contained in the compost.
Another system that works without worms is the bokashi. It is a container, usually plastic, with a tap into which one throws one's kitchen waste. An activator (bacteria) must be added to break down the waste into an intermediate compost: the result must be mixed with potting soil to complete the transformation. If this seems like a good compromise when you are not ready to welcome earthworms at home, you must have the space and technical means to mature this compost in potting soil before you can use it.
Local authorities encourage waste treatment at source
Depending on where you live, by 2023, the sorting of bio-waste at source will become mandatory. A number of cities provide composters or participate in the purchase of vermicomposters, find out more!
Now it's your turn! There is bound to be a solution that suits you!