Compost is a mixture of ingredients used as plant fertilizer and to improve soil's physical, chemical, and biological properties. It is commonly prepared by decomposing plant and food waste, recycling organic materials, and manure. The resulting mixture is rich in plant nutrients and beneficial organisms, such as bacteria, protozoa, nematodes, and fungi. Compost improves soil fertility in gardens, landscaping, horticulture, urban agriculture, and organic farming, reducing dependency on commercial chemical fertilizers.  The benefits of compost include providing nutrients to crops as fertilizer, acting as a soil conditioner, increasing the humus or humic acid contents of the soil, and introducing beneficial microbes that help to suppress pathogens in the soil and reduce soil-borne diseases.
At the simplest level, composting requires gathering a mix of "greens" (green waste) and "browns" (brown waste).  Greens are materials rich in nitrogen, such as leaves, grass, and food scraps.  Browns are woody materials rich in carbon, such as stalks, paper, and wood chips.  The materials break down into humus in a process taking months.  Composting can be a multistep, closely monitored process with measured inputs of water, air, and carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials. The decomposition process is aided by shredding the plant matter, adding water, and ensuring proper aeration by regularly turning the mixture in a process using open piles or "windrows".   Fungi, earthworms, and other detritivores further break up the organic material. Aerobic bacteria and fungi manage the chemical process by converting the inputs into heat, carbon dioxide, and ammonium ions.
Composting is an important part of waste management, since food and other compostable materials make up about 20% of waste in landfills, and due to anaerobic conditions, these materials take longer to biodegrade in the landfill.   Composting offers an environmentally superior alternative to using organic material for landfill because composting reduces methane emissions due to anaerobic conditions, and provides economic and environmental co-benefits.   For example, compost can also be used for land and stream reclamation, wetland construction, and landfill cover.
Composting is an aerobic method of decomposing organic solid wastes,  so can be used to recycle organic material. The process involves decomposing organic material into a humus-like material, known as compost, which is a good fertilizer for plants.
Composting organisms require four equally important ingredients to work effectively: 
Certain ratios of these materials allow microorganisms to work at a rate that will heat up the compost pile. Active management of the pile (e.g., turning over the compost heap) is needed to maintain sufficient oxygen and the right moisture level. The air/water balance is critical to maintaining high temperatures 130–160 °F (54–71 °C) until the materials are broken down. 
Composting is most efficient with a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of about 25:1.  Hot composting focuses on retaining heat to increase the decomposition rate, thus producing compost more quickly. Rapid composting is favored by having a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of about 30 carbon units or less. Above 30, the substrate is nitrogen starved. Below 15, it is likely to outgas a portion of nitrogen as ammonia. 
Nearly all dead plant and animal materials have both carbon and nitrogen in different amounts.  Fresh grass clippings have an average ratio of about 15:1 and dry autumn leaves about 50:1 depending upon species.  Composting is an ongoing and dynamic process; adding new sources of carbon and nitrogen consistently, as well as active management, is important.
Organisms can break down organic matter in compost if provided with the correct mixture of water, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen.  They fall into two broad categories: chemical decomposers, which perform chemical processes on the organic waste, and physical decomposers, which process the waste into smaller pieces through methods such as grinding, tearing, chewing, and digesting. 
Under ideal conditions, composting proceeds through three major phases: 
The time required to compost material relates to the volume of material, the particle size of the inputs (e.g. wood chips break down faster than branches), and the amount of mixing and aeration.  Generally, larger piles reach higher temperatures and remain in a thermophilic stage for days or weeks. This is hot composting and is the usual method for large-scale municipal facilities and agricultural operations.
The Berkeley method produces finished compost in 18 days. It requires assembly of at least 1 cubic metre (35 cu ft) of material at the outset and needs turning every two days after an initial four-day phase.  Such short processes involve some changes to traditional methods, including smaller, more homogenized particle sizes in the input materials, controlling carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (C:N) at 30:1 or less, and careful monitoring of the moisture level.
Cold composting is a slower process that can take up to a year to complete.  It results from smaller piles, including many residential compost piles that receive small amounts of kitchen and garden waste over extended periods. Piles smaller than 1 cubic metre (35 cu ft) tend not to reach and maintain high temperatures.  Turning is not necessary with cold composting, although a risk exists that parts of the pile may go anaerobic as it becomes compacted or waterlogged.
Composting can destroy some pathogens and seeds, by reaching temperatures above 50 °C (122 °F).  Dealing with stabilized compost – i.e. composted material in which microorganisms have finished digesting the organic matter and the temperature has reached between 50 and 70 °C (122 and 158 °F) – poses very little risk, as these temperatures kill pathogens and even make oocysts unviable.  The temperature at which a pathogen dies depends on the pathogen, how long the temperature is maintained (seconds to weeks), and pH. 
Compost products such as compost tea and compost extracts have been found to have an inhibitory effect on Fusarium oxysporum , Rhizoctonia species, and Pythium debaryanum, plant pathogens that can cause crop diseases.  Aerated compost teas are more effective than compost extracts.  The microbiota and enzymes present in compost extracts also have a suppressive effect on fungal plant pathogens.  Compost is a good source of biocontrol agents like B. subtilis, B. licheniformis, and P. chrysogenum that fight plant pathogens.  Sterilizing the compost, compost tea, or compost extracts reduces the effect of pathogen suppression. 
When turning compost that has not gone through phases where temperatures above 50 °C (122 °F) are reached, a mouth mask and gloves must be worn to protect from diseases that can be contracted from handling compost, including: 
Oocytes are rendered unviable by temperatures over 50 °C (122 °F). 
Composting at home reduces the amount of green waste being hauled to dumps or composting facilities. The reduced volume of materials being picked up by trucks results in fewer trips, which in turn lowers the overall emissions from the waste-management fleet.
Potential sources of compostable materials, or feedstocks, include residential, agricultural, and commercial waste streams. Residential food or yard waste can be composted at home,  or collected for inclusion in a large-scale municipal composting facility. In some regions, it could also be included in a local or neighborhood composting project.  
The two broad categories of organic solid waste are green and brown. Green waste is generally considered a source of nitrogen and includes pre- and post-consumer food waste, grass clippings, garden trimmings, and fresh leaves.  Animal carcasses, roadkill, and butcher residue can also be composted, and these are considered nitrogen sources. 
Brown waste is a carbon source. Typical examples are dried vegetation and woody material such as fallen leaves, straw, woodchips, limbs, logs, pine needles, sawdust, and wood ash, but not charcoal ash.   Products derived from wood such as paper and plain cardboard are also considered carbon sources. 
On many farms, the basic composting ingredients are animal manure generated on the farm as a nitrogen source, and bedding as the carbon source. Straw and sawdust are common bedding materials. Nontraditional bedding materials are also used, including newspaper and chopped cardboard.  The amount of manure composted on a livestock farm is often determined by cleaning schedules, land availability, and weather conditions. Each type of manure has its own physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. Cattle and horse manures, when mixed with bedding, possess good qualities for composting. Swine manure, which is very wet and usually not mixed with bedding material, must be mixed with straw or similar raw materials. Poultry manure must be blended with high-carbon, low-nitrogen materials. 
Human excreta, sometimes called "humanure" in the composting context,   can be added as an input to the composting process since it is a nutrient-rich organic material. Nitrogen, which serves as a building block for important plant amino acids, is found in solid human waste.   Phosphorus, which helps plants convert sunlight into energy in the form of ATP, can be found in liquid human waste.  
Solid human waste can be collected directly in composting toilets, or indirectly in the form of sewage sludge after it has undergone treatment in a sewage treatment plant. Both processes require capable design, as potential health risks need to be managed. In the case of home composting, a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and parasitic worms, can be present in feces, and improper processing can pose significant health risks.  In the case of large sewage treatment facilities that collect wastewater from a range of residential, commercial and industrial sources, there are additional considerations. The composted sewage sludge, referred to as biosolids, can be contaminated with a variety of metals and pharmaceutical compounds.   Insufficient processing of biosolids can also lead to problems when the material is applied to land. 
Urine can be put on compost piles or directly used as fertilizer.  Adding urine to compost can increase temperatures, so can increase its ability to destroy pathogens and unwanted seeds. Unlike feces, urine does not attract disease-spreading flies (such as houseflies or blowflies), and it does not contain the most hardy of pathogens, such as parasitic worm eggs. 
Animal carcasses may be composted as a disposal option. Such material is rich in nitrogen. 
Human composting is a process for the final disposition of human remains in which microbes convert a deceased body into compost. It is also called natural organic reduction (NOR) or terramation. 
Although the natural decomposition of human corpses into soil is a long-standing practice, a more rapid process that was developed in the early 21st century entails encasing human corpses in wood chips, straw, and alfafa until thermophile microbes decompose the body.  In this manner, the transformation can be sped up to as little as 1–2 months.  The accelerated process is based in part on techniques developed for the composting of livestock. Though human composting was common before modern burial practices and in some religious traditions, contemporary society has tended to favor other disposition methods. However, cultural attention to concerns like sustainability and environmentally friendly burial has led to a resurgence in interest in direct composting of human bodies.  Some religious and cultural communities have been critical of this modern composting practice, even though it is in many ways a return to more traditional practices. Human composting is legal in Sweden and in multiple US states, and natural burials without a casket or with a biodegradable container are common practice in Muslim and Jewish traditions and are allowed in the UK, the US, and many other locations throughout the world.  
In-vessel composting generally describes a group of methods that confine the composting materials within a building, container, or vessel.  In-vessel composting systems can consist of metal or plastic tanks or concrete bunkers in which air flow and temperature can be controlled, using the principles of a "bioreactor". Generally the air circulation is metered in via buried tubes that allow fresh air to be injected under pressure, with the exhaust being extracted through a biofilter, with temperature and moisture conditions monitored using probes in the mass to allow maintenance of optimum aerobic decomposition conditions.This technique is generally used for municipal scale organic waste processing, including final treatment of sewage biosolids, to a stable state with safe pathogen levels, for reclamation as a soil amendment. In-vessel composting can also refer to aerated static pile composting with the addition of removable covers that enclose the piles, as with the system in extensive use by farmer groups in Thailand, supported by the National Science and Technology Development Agency there.  In recent years, smaller scale in-vessel composting has been advanced. These can even use common roll-off waste dumpsters as the vessel. The advantage of using roll-off waste dumpsters is their relatively low cost, wide availability, they are highly mobile, often do not need building permits and can be obtained by renting or buying.
Aerated static pile (ASP) composting refers to any of a number of systems used to biodegrade organic material without physical manipulation during primary composting. The blended admixture is usually placed on perforated piping, providing air circulation for controlled aeration. It may be in windrows, open or covered, or in closed containers. With regard to complexity and cost, aerated systems are most commonly used by larger, professionally managed composting facilities, although the technique may range from very small, simple systems to very large, capital intensive, industrial installations. Aerated static piles offer process control for rapid biodegradation, and work well for facilities processing wet materials and large volumes of feedstocks. ASP facilities can be under roof or outdoor windrow composting operations, or totally enclosed in-vessel composting, sometimes referred to tunnel composting.
In agriculture, windrow composting is the production of compost by piling organic matter or biodegradable waste, such as animal manure and crop residues, in long rows ( windrows ). This method is suited to producing large volumes of compost. These rows are generally turned to improve porosity and oxygen content, mix in or remove moisture, and redistribute cooler and hotter portions of the pile. Windrow composting is a commonly used farm scale composting method. Composting process control parameters include the initial ratios of carbon and nitrogen rich materials, the amount of bulking agent added to assure air porosity, the pile size, moisture content, and turning frequency.The temperature of the windrows must be measured and logged constantly to determine the optimum time to turn them for quicker compost production.
The practice of making raised garden beds or mounds filled with rotting wood is also called Hügelkultur in German.   It is in effect creating a nurse log that is covered with soil.
Benefits of Hügelkultur garden beds include water retention and warming of soil.   Buried wood acts like a sponge as it decomposes, able to capture water and store it for later use by crops planted on top of the bed.  
A composting toilet is a type of dry toilet that treats human waste by a biological process called composting. This process leads to the decomposition of organic matter and turns human waste into compost-like material. Composting is carried out by microorganisms (mainly bacteria and fungi) under controlled aerobic conditions.  Most composting toilets use no water for flushing and are therefore called "dry toilets".
In many composting toilet designs, a carbon additive such as sawdust, coconut coir, or peat moss is added after each use. This practice creates air pockets in the human waste to promote aerobic decomposition. This also improves the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio and reduces potential odor. Most composting toilet systems rely on mesophilic composting. Longer retention time in the composting chamber also facilitates pathogen die-off. The end product can also be moved to a secondary system – usually another composting step – to allow more time for mesophilic composting to further reduce pathogens.Composting toilets, together with the secondary composting step, produce a humus-like end product that can be used to enrich soil if local regulations allow this. Some composting toilets have urine diversion systems in the toilet bowl to collect the urine separately and control excess moisture. A vermifilter toilet is a composting toilet with flushing water where earthworms are used to promote decomposition to compost.
On open ground for growing wheat, corn, soybeans, and similar crops, compost can be broadcast across the top of the soil using spreader trucks or spreaders pulled behind a tractor. It is expected that the spread layer is very thin (approximately 6 mm (0.24 in)) and worked into the soil prior to planting. Application rates of 25 mm (0.98 in) or more are not unusual when trying to rebuild poor soils or control erosion. Due to the extremely high cost of compost per unit of nutrients in the United States, on-farm use is relatively rare since rates over 4 tons/acre may not be affordable. This results from an over-emphasis on "recycling organic matter" than on "sustainable nutrients." In countries such as Germany, where compost distribution and spreading are partially subsidized in the original waste fees, compost is used more frequently on open ground on the premise of nutrient "sustainability". 
In plasticulture, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, melons, and other fruits and vegetables are grown under plastic to control temperature, retain moisture and control weeds. Compost may be banded (applied in strips along rows) and worked into the soil prior to bedding and planting, be applied at the same time the beds are constructed and plastic laid down, or used as a top dressing.
Many crops are not seeded directly in the field but are started in seed trays in a greenhouse. When the seedlings reach a certain stage of growth, they are transplanted in the field. Compost may be part of the mix used to grow the seedlings, but is not normally used as the only planting substrate. The particular crop and the seeds' sensitivity to nutrients, salts, etc. dictates the ratio of the blend, and maturity is important to insure that oxygen deprivation will not occur or that no lingering phyto-toxins remain. 
Compost can be added to soil, coir, or peat, as a tilth improver, supplying humus and nutrients.  It provides a rich growing medium as absorbent material. This material contains moisture and soluble minerals, which provide support and nutrients. Although it is rarely used alone, plants can flourish from mixed soil, sand, grit, bark chips, vermiculite, perlite, or clay granules to produce loam.[ relevant? ] Compost can be tilled directly into the soil or growing medium to boost the level of organic matter and the overall fertility of the soil. Compost that is ready to be used as an additive is dark brown or even black with an earthy smell.  
Generally, direct seeding into a compost is not recommended due to the speed with which it may dry, the possible presence of phytotoxins in immature compost that may inhibit germination,    and the possible tie up of nitrogen by incompletely decomposed lignin.  It is very common to see blends of 20–30% compost used for transplanting seedlings.
Compost can be used to increase plant immunity to diseases and pests. 
Compost tea is made up of extracts of fermented water leached from composted materials.   Composts can be either aerated or non-aerated depending on its fermentation process.  Compost teas are generally produced from adding compost to water in a ratio of 1:4–1:10, occasionally stirring to release microbes. 
There is debate about the benefits of aerating the mixture.  Non-aerated compost tea is cheaper and less labor intensive, but there are conflicting studies regarding the risks of phytotoxicity and human pathogen regrowth.  Aerated compost tea brews faster and generates more microbes, but has potential for human pathogen regrowth.  [ verification needed ]
Field studies have shown the benefits of adding compost teas to crops due to organic matter input, increased nutrient availability, and increased microbial activity.   They have also been shown to have a suppressive effect on plant pathogens  and soil-borne diseases.  The efficacy is influenced by a number of factors, such as the preparation process, the type of source the conditions of the brewing process, and the environment of the crops.  Adding nutrients to compost tea can be beneficial for disease suppression, although it can trigger the regrowth of human pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella. 
Compost extracts are unfermented or non-brewed extracts of leached compost contents dissolved in any solvent. 
Compost is sold as bagged potting mixes in garden centers and other outlets.   This may include composted materials such as manure and peat but is also likely to contain loam, fertilizers, sand, grit, etc. Varieties include multi-purpose composts designed for most aspects of planting, John Innes formulations,  grow bags, designed to have crops such as tomatoes directly planted into them. There are also a range of specialist composts available, e.g. for vegetables, orchids, houseplants, hanging baskets, roses, ericaceous plants, seedlings, potting on, etc.[ citation needed ]
Compost can also be used for land and stream reclamation, wetland construction, and landfill cover. 
The temperatures generated by compost can be used to heat greenhouses, such as by being placed around the outside edges. 
There are process and product guidelines in Europe that date to the early 1980s (Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland) and only more recently in the UK and the US. In both these countries, private trade associations within the industry have established loose standards, some say as a stop-gap measure to discourage independent government agencies from establishing tougher consumer-friendly standards.  Compost is regulated in Canada  and Australia  as well.
EPA Class A and B guidelines in the United States  were developed solely to manage the processing and beneficial reuse of sludge, also now called biosolids, following the US EPA ban of ocean dumping. About 26 American states now require composts to be processed according to these federal protocols for pathogen and vector control, even though the application to non-sludge materials has not been scientifically tested. An example is that green waste composts are used at much higher rates than sludge composts were ever anticipated to be applied at.  U.K guidelines also exist regarding compost quality,  as well as Canadian,  Australian,  and the various European states. 
In the United States, some compost manufacturers participate in a testing program offered by a private lobbying organization called the U.S. Composting Council. The USCC was originally established in 1991 by Procter & Gamble to promote composting of disposable diapers, following state mandates to ban diapers in landfills, which caused a national uproar. Ultimately the idea of composting diapers was abandoned, partly since it was not proven scientifically to be possible, and mostly because the concept was a marketing stunt in the first place. After this, composting emphasis shifted back to recycling organic wastes previously destined for landfills. There are no bonafide quality standards in America, but the USCC sells a seal called "Seal of Testing Assurance"  (also called "STA"). For a considerable fee, the applicant may display the USCC logo on products, agreeing to volunteer to customers a current laboratory analysis that includes parameters such as nutrients, respiration rate, salt content, pH, and limited other indicators. 
Many countries such as Wales   and some individual cities such as Seattle and San Francisco require food and yard waste to be sorted for composting (San Francisco Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance).  
The USA is the only Western country that does not distinguish sludge-source compost from green-composts, and by default 50% of US states expect composts to comply in some manner with the federal EPA 503 rule promulgated in 1984 for sludge products. 
There are health risk concerns about PFASs ("forever chemicals") levels in compost derived from sewage sledge sourced biosolids, and EPA has not set health risk standards for this. The Sierra Club recommends that home gardeners avoid the use of sewage sludge-base fertilizer and compost, in part due to potentially high levels of PFASs.  The EPA PFAS Strategic Roadmap initiative, running from 2021 to 2024, will consider the full lifecycle of PFAS including health risks of PFAS in wastewater sludge. 
Composting dates back to at least the early Roman Empire, and was mentioned as early as Cato the Elder's 160 BCE piece De Agri Cultura .  Traditionally, composting involved piling organic materials until the next planting season, at which time the materials would have decayed enough to be ready for use in the soil. The advantage of this method is that little working time or effort is required from the composter and it fits in naturally with agricultural practices in temperate climates. Disadvantages (from the modern perspective) are that space is used for a whole year, some nutrients might be leached due to exposure to rainfall, and disease-producing organisms and insects may not be adequately controlled.[ citation needed ]
Composting began to modernize somewhat from the 1920s in Europe as a tool for organic farming.  The first industrial station for the transformation of urban organic materials into compost was set up in Wels, Austria in the year 1921.  Early proponents of composting within farming include Rudolf Steiner, founder of a farming method called biodynamics, and Annie Francé-Harrar, who was appointed on behalf of the government in Mexico and supported the country in 1950–1958 to set up a large humus organization in the fight against erosion and soil degradation.  Sir Albert Howard, who worked extensively in India on sustainable practices,  and Lady Eve Balfour were also major proponents of composting. Composting was imported to America by the likes of:
Vermicompost (vermi-compost) is the product of the decomposition process using various species of worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms, to create a mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast. This process is called vermicomposting, while the rearing of worms for this purpose is called vermiculture.
In agriculture, a green manure is a crop specifically produced to be incorporated into the soil while still green. Typically, the green manure's biomass is incorporated with a plow or disk, as is often done with (brown) manure. The primary goal is to add organic matter to the soil for its benefits. Green manuring is often used with legume crops to add nitrogen to the soil for following crops, especially in organic farming, but is also used in conventional farming.
A composting toilet is a type of dry toilet that treats human waste by a biological process called composting. This process leads to the decomposition of organic matter and turns human waste into compost-like material. Composting is carried out by microorganisms under controlled aerobic conditions. Most composting toilets use no water for flushing and are therefore called "dry toilets".
Biosolids are solid organic matter recovered from a sewage treatment process and used as fertilizer. In the past, it was common for farmers to use animal manure to improve their soil fertility. In the 1920s, the farming community began also to use sewage sludge from local wastewater treatment plants. Scientific research over many years has confirmed that these biosolids contain similar nutrients to those in animal manures. Biosolids that are used as fertilizer in farming are usually treated to help to prevent disease-causing pathogens from spreading to the public. Some sewage sludge can not qualify as biosolids due to persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals, radionuclides, and heavy metals at levels sufficient to contaminate soil and water when applied to land.
Waste stabilization ponds are ponds designed and built for wastewater treatment to reduce the organic content and remove pathogens from wastewater. They are man-made depressions confined by earthen structures. Wastewater or "influent" enters on one side of the waste stabilization pond and exits on the other side as "effluent", after spending several days in the pond, during which treatment processes take place.
Anaerobic digestion is a sequence of processes by which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. The process is used for industrial or domestic purposes to manage waste or to produce fuels. Much of the fermentation used industrially to produce food and drink products, as well as home fermentation, uses anaerobic digestion.
Organic fertilizers are fertilizers that are naturally produced. Fertilizers are materials that can be added to soil or plants, in order to provide nutrients and sustain growth. Typical organic fertilizers include all animal waste including meat processing waste, manure, slurry, and guano; plus plant based fertilizers such as compost; and biosolids. Inorganic "organic fertilizers" include minerals and ash. The organic-mess refers to the Principles of Organic Agriculture, which determines whether a fertilizer can be used for commercial organic agriculture, not whether the fertilizer consists of organic compounds.
In biology, detritus is dead particulate organic material, as distinguished from dissolved organic material. Detritus typically includes the bodies or fragments of bodies of dead organisms, and fecal material. Detritus typically hosts communities of microorganisms that colonize and decompose it. In terrestrial ecosystems it is present as leaf litter and other organic matter that is intermixed with soil, which is denominated "soil organic matter". The detritus of aquatic ecosystems is organic material that is suspended in the water and accumulates in depositions on the floor of the body of water; when this floor is a seabed, such a deposition is denominated "marine snow".
In-vessel composting generally describes a group of methods that confine the composting materials within a building, container, or vessel. In-vessel composting systems can consist of metal or plastic tanks or concrete bunkers in which air flow and temperature can be controlled, using the principles of a "bioreactor". Generally the air circulation is metered in via buried tubes that allow fresh air to be injected under pressure, with the exhaust being extracted through a biofilter, with temperature and moisture conditions monitored using probes in the mass to allow maintenance of optimum aerobic decomposition conditions.
Soil biology is the study of microbial and faunal activity and ecology in soil. Soil life, soil biota, soil fauna, or edaphon is a collective term that encompasses all organisms that spend a significant portion of their life cycle within a soil profile, or at the soil-litter interface. These organisms include earthworms, nematodes, protozoa, fungi, bacteria, different arthropods, as well as some reptiles, and species of burrowing mammals like gophers, moles and prairie dogs. Soil biology plays a vital role in determining many soil characteristics. The decomposition of organic matter by soil organisms has an immense influence on soil fertility, plant growth, soil structure, and carbon storage. As a relatively new science, much remains unknown about soil biology and its effect on soil ecosystems.
Sewage sludge treatment describes the processes used to manage and dispose of sewage sludge produced during sewage treatment. Sludge treatment is focused on reducing sludge weight and volume to reduce transportation and disposal costs, and on reducing potential health risks of disposal options. Water removal is the primary means of weight and volume reduction, while pathogen destruction is frequently accomplished through heating during thermophilic digestion, composting, or incineration. The choice of a sludge treatment method depends on the volume of sludge generated, and comparison of treatment costs required for available disposal options. Air-drying and composting may be attractive to rural communities, while limited land availability may make aerobic digestion and mechanical dewatering preferable for cities, and economies of scale may encourage energy recovery alternatives in metropolitan areas.
Green waste, also known as "biological waste", is any organic waste that can be composted. It is most usually composed of refuse from gardens such as grass clippings or leaves, and domestic or industrial kitchen wastes. Green waste does not include things such as dried leaves, pine straw, or hay. Such materials are rich in carbon and considered "brown wastes," while green wastes contain high in concentrations of nitrogen. Green waste can be used to increase the efficiency of many composting operations and can be added to soil to sustain local nutrient cycling.
Digestate is the material remaining after the anaerobic digestion of a biodegradable feedstock. Anaerobic digestion produces two main products: digestate and biogas. Digestate is produced both by acidogenesis and methanogenesis and each has different characteristics. These characteristics stem from the original feedstock source as well as the processes themselves.
Aerobic digestion is a process in sewage treatment designed to reduce the volume of sewage sludge and make it suitable for subsequent use. More recently, technology has been developed that allows the treatment and reduction of other organic waste, such as food, cardboard and horticultural waste. It is a bacterial process occurring in the presence of oxygen. Bacteria rapidly consume organic matter and convert it into carbon dioxide, water and a range of lower molecular weight organic compounds. As there is no new supply of organic material from sewage, the activated sludge biota begin to die and are used as food by saprotrophic bacteria. This stage of the process is known as endogenous respiration and it is process that reduces the solid concentration in the sludge.
Sewage treatment is a type of wastewater treatment which aims to remove contaminants from sewage to produce an effluent that is suitable to discharge to the surrounding environment or an intended reuse application, thereby preventing water pollution from raw sewage discharges. Sewage contains wastewater from households and businesses and possibly pre-treated industrial wastewater. There are a high number of sewage treatment processes to choose from. These can range from decentralized systems to large centralized systems involving a network of pipes and pump stations which convey the sewage to a treatment plant. For cities that have a combined sewer, the sewers will also carry urban runoff (stormwater) to the sewage treatment plant. Sewage treatment often involves two main stages, called primary and secondary treatment, while advanced treatment also incorporates a tertiary treatment stage with polishing processes and nutrient removal. Secondary treatment can reduce organic matter from sewage, using aerobic or anaerobic biological processes.
Reuse of human excreta is the safe, beneficial use of treated human excreta after applying suitable treatment steps and risk management approaches that are customized for the intended reuse application. Beneficial uses of the treated excreta may focus on using the plant-available nutrients that are contained in the treated excreta. They may also make use of the organic matter and energy contained in the excreta. To a lesser extent, reuse of the excreta's water content might also take place, although this is better known as water reclamation from municipal wastewater. The intended reuse applications for the nutrient content may include: soil conditioner or fertilizer in agriculture or horticultural activities. Other reuse applications, which focus more on the organic matter content of the excreta, include use as a fuel source or as an energy source in the form of biogas.
Soil regeneration, as a particular form of ecological regeneration within the field of restoration ecology, is creating new soil and rejuvenating soil health by: minimizing the loss of topsoil, retaining more carbon than is depleted, boosting biodiversity, and maintaining proper water and nutrient cycling. This has many benefits, such as: soil sequestration of carbon in response to a growing threat of climate change, a reduced risk of soil erosion, and increased overall soil resilience.
The Sustainable Technology Optimization Research Center (STORC) is a research facility located on the California State University Sacramento campus. There are several players included in operations at the STORC including Sacramento State's Risk Management, the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), and two professors in the Environmental Studies department Brook Murphy and Dudley Burton. The STORC facility is primarily maintained by California State University, Sacramento student interns and volunteers who use applied science and technology to address real world policy, food, health, and energy issues of present-day society. Research at the STORC encompasses engineering and science to test and evaluate new ideas and approaches of sustainable technology to solve environmental problems. Faculty and students address sustainability with an interdisciplinary studies approach. The STORC Vision is to become "an international resource for practical, scalable, and financially viable solutions in the area of sustainable technologies that are suitable for private and/or public sector operations related to the management of energy, food, water, and waste". The STORC Mission is "to demonstrate the operation of innovative commercially viable physical systems that are underpinned by sustainable technologies, and to disseminate the associated plans, public policy discourse, and scientific findings".
Bokashi is a process that converts food waste and similar organic matter into a soil amendment which adds nutrients and improves soil texture. It differs from traditional composting methods in several respects. The most important are:
Home composting is the process of using household waste to make compost at home. Composting is the biological decomposition of organic waste by recycling food and other organic materials into compost. Home composting can be practiced within households for various environmental advantages, such as increasing soil fertility, reduce landfill and methane contribution, and limit food waste.