The Poplar guide to composting methods

The Poplar guide to composting methods

Composting is one of the best ways that we as individuals can make a positive impact on the planet and take responsibility for our waste. While we all want to do our part, turning our waste into nutritious soil by ourselves can be time consuming, expensive, smelly, and complex.  

With Poplar, you can get connected to composting haulers that do the technical stuff for you. Each of the different haulers we partner with use different scientific processes to turn your banana peels into nutrients for our soil.  

Keep reading to learn more about these different processes... 

Aerobic Composting  

The most popular and fastest form of processing food waste, aerobic composting (also called “open air composting”), happens through letting organic matter be exposed to open air. When microbes get the right amount of oxygen and water, they begin to eat away organic matter. Your food waste is only half of the equation. The other half is yard waste: branches, wood, dried leaves, and other brown material. The perfect balance of food waste and brown material create an optimum environment for the composting process to happen.  

The processors we partner with follow the recipe and serve as the sous chefs, turning balanced piles of waste and making sure these microbes have the right amount of nitrogen and water to transform waste into compost.  

Anaerobic composting  

Many types of bacteria thrive in a dark environment that has less oxygen. These bacteria perform anaerobic composting. Over the span of 6 months to 1 year, the bacteria eat away your food waste in an acidic environment that produces compost with a tiny side of methane. This process is very similar to what occurs in your stomach when you break down food, which is why it is often called “digestion.” 

Our processors control this environment and some even use the methane that is released as a source of energy to continue powering the processing cycle. This form of decomposition creates an environment with very low pH levels that can be harmful to plants if not monitored, so processors ensure that anaerobic compost piles sit for 6 months to a year before being used to ensure safety. 

Vermicomposting (or Worm Composting) 

Worms. They are small, have not a single bone in their body, and are one of the best composting agents on the planet. Worms digest your organic matter and produce one of the greatest natural fertilizers known to man: black gold, aka worm poop. Worm poop, formally known as ‘castings’, provides our soil with the nutrients to grow wholesome, organic, and sustaining crops of food. Worms thrive on a diet without meat, dairy, or any artificial ingredients, so if your hauler uses vermicomposting, it is important to avoid adding these to your bin. 

Our processors who use vermicomposting work hard to ensure that the worms are happy and healthy, controlling the temperature, moisture, aeration, breeding, etc. They also harvest the black gold in a way that is safe for the worms to ensure that they can keep breaking down food waste for a long time to come. 

Black Soldier Fly (BSF) Composting 

Unlike worms, black fly larvae do not follow a strict diet. Coming in at 2/10ths of an inch to half an inch in length, these insects can eat 5 to 10 times their weight. They will eat all the oily, fatty, and meaty food that the worms would leave behind. Instead of black gold, these small creatures excrete frass. Unlike worm castings, frass must be mixed into soil and left to sit for a few months before being applied to your plants.  

Processors who use BSF composting, like vermicomposting, must ensure that the temperature, moisture, and aeration of the larvae is optimal for composting.  

Continue to watch our social media to see how our haulers and processors handle your waste.  

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