Whether you are new to the practice of composting or you are a seasoned composting pro, attempting to understand or relay basic composting information can be a challenge. This is partly due to the contradiction we often hear when talking about the process of composting.
We often hear that it is an easy process and that it sounds much more complicated than it really is, yet any veteran composting pro would be happy to tell you why it is, in fact, more intricate than many people lead you to believe. So, what’s the verdict? Is it a confusing process, or is it something almost anyone can grasp if they simply do their homework?
The answer is: composting is certainly for everyone. The more individuals that compost, the better. It is not only an excellent way to restore land and eliminate contaminants in soil, but it is an eco-friendly practice overall in that it helps to reduce organics going to landfills. Many people may be interested in learning how to compost, only to be later thwarted by intimidating terms and scientific processes they cannot understand.
If you find yourself wanting to learn about the basics of composting or you would like a few simple terms to reference to when you are trying to relay the basics to someone who is new to the process, here are a few common terms that anyone who is interested in composting should know.
Compost– A mixture of a combination of decaying organic material such as vegetation and manure, which is carefully managed, then used to improve soil and support plant growth.
Aerobic– In the presence of oxygen. Within the context of composting, it means providing air to the composting materials in order to encourage oxygen-loving bacteria, which results in efficient and clean processing.
Anaerobic– In the absence of oxygen. Anaerobic decomposition is slow and odoriferous.
Biodegradation– The process through which microorganisms break down a material into a lower, and ultimately more stable, form.
Aerated Static Pile Composting– A composting method in which the materials being composted are aerated by drawing air through the pile rather than by turning the material to expose it to air.
Compost Pad– A designated area, usually made of asphalt or soil cement, where organic materials are processed. This area is found within the composting site itself.