All you need to know about composting : domestic, industrial and shared

compost à domicile

All you need to know about composting

In France, each citizen produces on average 573 kg of household waste each year. Among these, bio-waste represents a third of residual bins.
Solutions to optimize the volume of waste do exist like recycling or composting…
How to practice composting at home? What is the difference between home and industrial composting? What everyday products (bags, food packaging, …) are compostable?

What is composting?

Composting consists of recovering waste by transforming it into a natural fertilizer. Thanks to the water and oxygen, the microorganisms in the composted materials break down and turn into a nutrient-rich soil: compost.
Technique widely used in gardening since it improves soil fertility, composting is also a solution increasingly used to reduce our waste.
You know now, composting is good for the planet, just like for your garden!

Home or industrial composting?

How to adopt composting at home?

To transform your organic waste in compost, all you need to do is install a composter in your garden. Then you have to put the right waste inside:

  • Fruits and vegetables peelings;
  • Crushed eggshells;
  • Tea bags, coffee grounds and filter (torn) if that is in paper;
  • Dead leaves, plants, wilted flowers and hay, grass clippings and dried weeds, pruning and brush (finely cut);
  • Paper, cardboard and cellulose fabrics (tissues, paper towels, newsprint,…). Avoid colored parts which may contain heavy metals ; in small quantity compared to the total volume;
  • The manure from horses, rabbits, goats, and litter of small herbivorous animals.

Be sure to mix the waste well, at least once every two weeks during the first two months. It is also important to aerate and moisten your compost.

Other products, like food packaging can also be composted at home. They are identifiable because they have the “OK Home compost” label, the logo of which you will find below:

Label Ok Home Compost

We can see that on fruits and vegetables bags for example, or cardboard packaging.

Industrial composting

The industrial composting is a natural process to recycle our waste in large quantities. This process is composed of three steps:

  • The waste is sorted and crushed;
  • The waste is placed in piles, sometimes contained in silos;
  • The waste is sieved and mixed with other organic materials to complete the maturation.

Industrial composting is useful to recycle large volumes of waste, but also because certain materials require special temperature and humidity conditions in order to degrade. Thus, the high temperatures, combined with an optimal humidity, degrade and transform the waste.

This is the case with certain packaging as bags (fruits and vegetables, shopping bags) and eco-friendly food packaging: cups, lunch boxes, in bio-based and biodegradable materials (bagasse, PLA, kraft).

For now, unfortunately there is no French industrial composting infrastructure able to collect and compost large quantities. However, you can note that industrially compostable waste can be identified by one of the following logos:

logo OK compostlogo compostablelogo compostable industriellement

These logos certify that the products comply with European standard EN 13432 (Europe) or American (BPI). They also attest that the waste is biodegradable at 90% in 6 months, with industrial composting conditions.

Composting for everyone

compostage à domicile

By 2025, the French people will need a practical solution for sorting their bio-waste at the source. Initiatives are developing to offer composting for everyone, even in the city!

  • The shared compost

Whether you live in the city or in the countryside, shared compost is an excellent way to reduce waste borne by the community and to create social ties. This action also makes it possible to empower the inhabitants while stimulating reflection on waste reduction.

There are hundreds of shared composting locations in France. To find one near you (in France), go to www.jecomposteenville.fr

  • The compost in apartment

The compact apartment composter reduces organic waste. By adopting it, you will independently produce a natural and completely free fertilizer for your plants.

To avoid unpleasant odors, you might prefer an outdoor location in the shade.

You just need to cover the waste with a little soil, potting soil, or failing that a very dry cardboard box, in order to retain the correct humidity. Be sure to mix the compost about once a week and moisten it regularly.

Diluted in water, the compost tea can be used from the third week.

This solution is practical in town, but remains limited in terms of volume.

  • The compost in town

Even though there are currently no large-volume waste collection and treatment centers, large cities are mobilizing to find innovative solutions.

Waste collection associations are emerging, such as La Tryciclerie which organizes its collections by bicycle around the city of Nantes, France.

In 2019, the Citeo company joined forces with the Parisian start-up Les Alchimistes to understand the conditions for composting PLA in an industrial unit. As a reminder, PLA is a bio-based polymer made from corn starch.

PLA waste was mixed, up to 5%, with bio-waste for 8 weeks. At the end of this experiment and the results of the analysis obtained, it appears that the PLA largely decays. This one complies with standard NFU 44-051, nevertheless it requires the addition of an upstream grinding step, as well as two additional weeks to reach maturation.

As the end of single-use plastic packaging approaches by 2040, French cities are stepping up to promote the treatment of organic waste.

Whether you live in the countryside or in the city, composting is now accessible to everyone.

Do you want to choose eco-friendly bags or food packaging? Whatever your needs and expectations, we support you in order to tailor the products that suit you best!

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