Composting is nature’s way of producing fertile soil. The process itself is the natural decay and rotting of organic material. The result is a nutrient-rich super food for plants. Learn more about the scientific principles behind compost by reading below.
Soil Microorganisms Break Down Organic Waste
If you were a microorganism, you’d want to live in a compost heap. It’s like a micro-party in there! In fact, there are more living microorganisms in one teaspoon of soil than people on earth, and a compost bin has everything microorganisms love to feed on. Microorganisms like protozoa, bacteria, fungi, and nematodes, help make compost by eating organic waste. As they eat, they break down the waste into nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Water and Air Allow Microorganisms to Multiply
Keeping a compost pile slightly damp helps the microorganisms to thrive, but is not enough to complete the composting process. Composting also requires oxygen. By turning the compost once a week, you introduce new oxygen to the soil and encourage the respiration process.
Respiration Process Heats Compost
Aerobic respiration is vital to the microorganism’s ability to break down waste material into high-quality compost. It’s through this process that microorganisms give off carbon dioxide, causing the core of the compost heap to heat up as high as 150 degrees Fahrenheit and break the compost down into a much finer, usable soil.
Foodwebs Balance Organism Populations
If you have too many members of a certain organism, than the composting process is less efficient. Luckily, there’s a natural biological process at work in a compost heap to keep numbers in check. Bacteria and fungi eat the organic matter; protozoa and nematodes feed on the bacteria and fungi; and sow bugs, millipedes, and beetles feed on the protozoa and nematodes. With a balanced population of organisms, water, and oxygen, the process of decomposition takes place in as little as two weeks. If you don’t introduce air or water to the compost heap, the process may take up to six months.
Western Disposal is proud to do whatever we can to protect the environment. That’s why we offer compost pickup service in addition to our regular trash and recycling services. If you’re interested in compost pickup for your home or business in the Boulder, CO area, please contact us at (303) 586-1100.