Organic waste management has become a huge problem in our country in recent years. While the govt. has launched many campaigns like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, etc., it all comes down to us as an individual to adopt methods like Decentralized Waste Management and Reduce, Recycle & Reuse to make all this work.
What are Organic Wastes?
Organic waste is the waste that is biodegradable and comes from any living source like plants, animals, and microorganisms. It can be broken into carbon dioxide, methane, or simple organic molecules.
Examples of organic waste include food waste, food-soiled paper, green waste, green waste, etc.
Its most common sources include agriculture, household activities, and industrial products.
Types of organic wastes
Let’s discuss some of the common types of organic wastes that can be easily found around us:
Municipal solid wastes- MSW (Municipal solid wastes), more commonly known as trash or garbage, include everyday items we use and then throw away. It includes product packaging, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, bottles, food scraps, appliances, paint, newspapers, and batteries.
The most common sources of it are residential areas, schools, hospitals, and businesses.
According to a 2016 estimate, India produces 277 million tonnes of municipal solid waste every year.
To put into perspective, it is 80% of the 334 million tonnes of waste generated across South Asia, and about 13% of the global waste generated every year.
Cattle wastes- Cattle wastes are wastes that are produced by animals. This is a significant contributor to the nation’s organic wastes considering we have a large population of livestock. In the year 2020, India alone had 303 million cows.
The Cattle Waste acts as a good resource of organic matter.
It is also an important soil fertilizer that provides a high concentration of micro & macronutrients for crop growth & soil fertility.
Food wastes- To put it simply, Food waste is food that is not eaten. However, it doesn’t only involve the end-user but the complete Food System. In more simple words, food waste or food loss occurs throughout the food system, during production, processing, distribution, retail, and consumption.
Some of the examples of food wastes include peelings, cores, leaves, fruits, twigs, outer skins, and sludges.
Food wastes account for about 30% or one-3rd of total organic waste in nature via natural and artificial means.
Even though most of the organic wastes add up nutrients and minerals in the soil for its fertility and plant growth, inappropriate disposal practices might cause severe damage to the environment.
Hence, the concept of organic waste management and recycling has been introduced and implemented.
What is organic waste management?
Organic waste management is a process where organic wastes are recycled or converted into other useful matter by different recycling methods.
Why is there a need for Organic waste management?
Organic waste accounts for most of the waste created in nature. The need for organic waste management or recycling has increased over the years as waste management became an emerging issue in many metropolitan cities.
This is because of the excess moisture content present in the Urban organic waste that increases its volume and lowers its incinerator temperatures, causing the overload of waste.
To deal with such issues, various treatment methods and practices have been formulated and introduced throughout the world.
The primary objective of organic waste management/recycling is to maintain a sustainable cycle of organic waste disposal by various methods & techniques. Let’s check out the most common of them:
Methods of organic waste recycling
Animal feed- This method of recycling organic waste includes feeding agricultural and food waste to cattle and other animals as food.
It is one of the most common, simple, and efficient ways of recycling organic waste.
This method has many advantages like reduced pressure on landfills, reduced methane production from fruits and vegetables, and the lack of need to convert organic waste into some other forms.
Farmers also benefit from it as they don’t have to buy the food for their cattle. This eventually helps the economy.
Some organic wastes are not good for the animals and lead to major health issues in them. Therefore, many countries like the US have made regulations on the type & the condition of the food given to the animals.
Composting- Perhaps the most popular method, it utilizes microorganisms that are naturally present in organic matter and soil to decompose organic materials. This results in recycling nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other soil nutrients into humus-rich components.
It’s an Aerobic process that takes place under controlled conditions of air, moisture, temperature, etc.
With compost bins, you can compost simple kitchen/food waste and garden cuttings.
You get a by-product i.e. Compost that you can further use to condition your soil.
It’s a very long process that includes both the composting time followed by the stabilization period.
Though almost all the organic waste can be composted, some organic wastes like wood chips, paper, etc. take longer than food and agricultural wastes.
Anaerobic digestion- Anaerobic digestion has been proposed due to the negative impacts of other widely used waste management methods such as landfilling, incineration, etc.
It’s a cost-effective technology for renewable energy production and treatment of high moisture and energy-rich material.
During this process, different types of biomass and other organic wastes get converted into biogas and nutrient-rich residue with the help of anaerobic microorganisms.
Compared to other methods, this method can recycle a much wider range of substrates, even those with high moisture content and impurities. For example wastewater, sewage sludge, and animal manure.
Generally carried out at a commercial scale on farms and at wastewater treatment works (WwTWs), it requires a high level of investment in infrastructures such as large tanks and other process vessels.
If run inefficiently, it can cause odor nuisance.
Rendering- Generally carried out on dead animals, it’s a process of converting waste animal tissues into stable and usable materials. For example, feed protein.
It involves exposing the fatty tissues, bones, and animal carcass to a high temperature of about 130°C and then pressurized to destroy pathogens.
Though it’s normally performed on animal tissues, some non-animal products can also be rendered down with this process.
The advantages include the economy of energy, better protein yield, faster processing, etc.
It cannot completely degrade waste products like blood.
The raw materials used in the rendering process are susceptible to spoilage.
So far the methods we’ve discussed, composting is the one that is accessible to all and has no serious shortcoming other than the duration.
If you’re interested in composting then our GoClean range of composters is a must-try. Not only do they come in a spectrum of capacities from 25 KG to 1 Tonne, but you also get 70-80% mature compost within a day.
With that being said, we all should take the measures that are within our capacities to ensure a Cleaner & Greener tomorrow for the future generation.
With that being said, we all should take the measures that are within our capacities to ensure a Cleaner & Greener tomorrow for the future generation. Individuals need to step up and help the govt. with whatever lies in their capacities like composting, etc. for an effective Organic Waste Management.