Organic waste composting activities involve the aerobic degradation of biodegradable organic materials such as garden waste, food and kitchen waste, agricultural waste and other plant and animal based waste material.
Aerobic composting requires a plentiful supply of oxygen through the regular turning of the compost or from injection of air into the composting mass.
Bio-degradation of the waste due to activity from micro-organisms may generate temperatures in excess of 70 degree Celsius.
Through microbial activity respiration large amount of carbon dioxide is emitted, as well ammonia and methane. This results in substantial loss of key elements Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium from both emissions from micro-organisms, and also from their digestion of material. The result is a loss in material mass of almost 50%.
Humans generate more than 2 billion tons of municipal waste annually. Most of this waste is transported to landfills where it sits decaying and releases a suite of environmental pollutants.
In cities around the world, waste management is a rising crisis, and in many regions, governments are turning to waste-to-energy facilities to control landfill expansion. Landfills produce 1.6 to 5.7 times more greenhouse-warming as waste-to-energy to make the same amount of electricity.
The EPA estimates that in 2008, 250 million tons of municipal solid waste (including organic and non-organic) was generated in the U.S. While 22 million tons of organic waste was diverted for composting, an estimated 43 million tons of organic waste was sent to landfills.