What is Composting?

Many gardeners rely on nature to nurture their gardens by choosing compost-based soil mixes over chemical fertilizers. Compost is decomposed organic matter – it is the ecological alternative to burning or burying organic waste. Not only is it an environmentally-friendly product; it is also full of nutrients and useful microorganisms.
The process starts here at this composting unit where manure from farms, biodegradable solid waste from paper, wood chips and bark, and grass clippings and leaves from municipalities are collected. Some materials arrive in bulk whereas others in individual garbage bags. Workers carefully inspect the materials removing any non-biodegradable objects that may have been placed or collected, such as pieces of plastic or rubber, metal, shards of glass, or stones. After, combining all the waste ingredients together the mixture is stocked in outdoor piles to decompose.

The process is designed to create an ideal environment for live microorganisms, billions of bacteria and fungus to grow and reproduce by feeding on the nitrogen and carbon that are naturally present in the organic matter. The waste is slowly and gradually transformed into compost, which when ready will resemble rich, black earth. The microbiological activity keeps the waste piles steaming at sixty-five degrees Celsius, even dunning winter. The active breakdown phase takes 6 to 10 months. A securing phase follows for an additional 6 to 8 months, at the end of which the compost stabilizes due to the exposure of the outdoor piles to precipitation. High concentrations of nitrogen phosphorus and potassium leach into the runoff water drainage ditches, collecting the water and carried into holding ponds. From there, it goes through a treatment system consisting mainly of aeration and setting ponds. Any chemical compounds and pollutants bond and settle at the surface to be skimmed off the treated water. The compost undergoes a screening process, which removes any lumps or foreign objects such as pebbles or partially decomposed wood chips. Before the compost is sent to market it also undergoes strict quality control testing.