Throughout Europe, many countries are devoted to the processing of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to divert as much organic waste as possible away from landfill. This need is imperative for the United Kingdom if the UK is to reach government recycling targets, goals which are created to ensure residents comply with necessary landfill diversion rates set by the EU Landfill Directive.
But what is the most convenient way to divert organic waste away from landfills and close a lot of landfills?
The response to this question is composting. Composting is the natural method of bringing leftover organic material back into the nutrient cycle. Composting also replaces chemical fertilizers and further enhances the quality of the soil, decreasing crop bugs, and retaining more moisture in the soil, which, then, helps reduce the amount of water needed for organic breakdown processes to occur.
So, composting is a great way to divert waste away from local garbage dumps, but there exists a real need for higher, more substantial amounts that could be created from a larger percentage of the community at large. Further, there exist many arguments for concluding that there will be large, sufficient attempts from farmers and garden enthusiasts, because there is an enormous quantity of natural waste in our non-recyclable rubbish, from potato peelings to papers, cardboard, and even our non-synthetic clothing.
Composting, further, can be the first step toward inventing or discovering more sophisticated waste processing technologies, such as anaerobic digestion, taking us toward a much more sustainable carbon economy, a state of affairs which many see as the intermediate step communities require prior to entering the age of the hydrogen economy. On the other hand, the vision of a carbon economy leads us towards an unintended consequence of increasing methane production. This result occurs because there will be a need to produce a great deal of methane, which can then be processed further into biofuel, such as biomethanol and biodiesel, leading away from dependence on oil as our main fuel source. The hope is that taking such steps will lead us towards a world free from fossil fuels.
However, just as in the majority of clinical and industrial advances, progression works best through development rather than revolution; therefore, composting will likely follow the same structure. Lots of countries comprising the UK are now composting quite effectively; however, unfortunately, composting alone will not bring us to the point where we become sustainable.
Many understand we require sustainable eco-friendly fuels extremely urgently, to stop utilizing fossil fuels, and decrease the rate of climate change. By building on the successes of family green waste initiatives and, by starting to compost commercial and food waste, we are establishing a culture that begins to accept the need for organic waste processing, not landfilling as the norm. Many new, successful companies have begun to process compost in the UK, and those companies will naturally look to diversify and develop newer and better methods as demands increase.
But composting needs energy, is a net carbon emitter, and is not really sustainable for Municipal Solid Waste. It is not the best use of waste for raw material, waste which can consist of a lot of harmful products. How can we adapt composting to be a net carbon emissions reducer, or “Carbon Negative“, and allow these new service providers to broaden their intelligent abilities in biowaste processing?
The best response, at present, is Anaerobic Digestion for natural waste feedstocks appropriate for it. The process of anaerobic digestion (composting without air (i.e., oxygen)) utilizes natural waste products to produce methane gas. The methane gas produced is a sustainable fuel for direct burning for power generation. This process is (1) carbon positive, (2) uses just sustainable resources, and (3) replaces nonrenewable fuel-source usage. An added benefit is that the process will minimize climate change.
If we can get abord with these aforementioned ideas, no only in the UK, but all the world will have genuine sustainability. This is a philosophy of living without environmental change and without jeopardizing the lives of later generations from global warming.