Composting is the process of managing the natural decomposition of organic material. It involves organic matter (such as food scraps and yard trimmings), moisture, oxygen, and bacteria. Material decomposes because it is continuously eaten and recycled by millions of organisms, like earthworms, insects, and micro-organisms that turn the material into a valuable soil amendment.
On a small scale, composting involves mixing food scraps and yard trimmings in a small kitchen or backyard container. On a large scale, it involves environmentally friendly processes at our composting facilities that accelerate decomposition of organic materials and help nature to create compost that supports healthy root systems and improves soil structure.
So, why is composting considered resource recovery?
The nutrients available in compost are a direct function of the raw materials that were used to create it. Recology recovers nutrient-rich food and yard waste from the landfill waste streams, and converts these resources into valuable, enriching compost.
Over time, soils can lose their nutrients due to continuous harvesting. Amending them with nutrient-rich compost returns valuable minerals to depleted soils, restoring their natural health. When applied to the land, compost reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, and conserves water and energy for the farmers and landscapers who use it. At Recology Organics, we believe that by producing high quality products in state-of-the-art facilities, we are beneficially completing the recycling process. We can't think of a better or higher use for these waste stream resources than to return them to our agricultural soils as life-giving, crop-enriching Recology compost.
Composting organic material also reduces our communities' carbon footprints by avoiding the creation of methane gas when this material is buried in landfills. At some sites, the gases created in the composting process are captured and used to produce energy - just another way Recology strives to waste zero.
Recology (n): The science and practice of resource recovery.
Resource recovery is the reclaiming of "garbage" materials for a new use. It includes collecting, sorting, and processing materials that are traditionally viewed as waste and transforming them into the raw inputs used to create new products. Recycling and composting are among the best known resource recovery practices.
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Resource recovery is the practice of reclaiming materials that were previously thought of as unusable. It is not managing waste, which is the standard for most garbage companies. Traditional waste companies collect and move wasted materials to large-scale, single-use sites such as landfills or incinerators. Unlike the management of waste, resource recovery recognizes that there is still value in those materials. Recology facilitates extracting the remaining value of these materials through our progressive programs, facilities and technologies.
The intention of resource recovery is always to make the best and highest use of all materials, and landfilling only those materials for which there is currently no use. Over time, we expect the volume of landfill-bound material to shrink to a negligible amount as a result of our creative resource recovery efforts. Recology is actively pursuing that goal.