As more and more people become interested in living an eco-friendly lifestyle, the question of whether to opt for recyclable or compostable often comes up.
Which is the better process if you want to be friendly to the environment?
There are pros and cons to recycling and composting, so it’s important to weigh them before deciding. Recycling is excellent because it reduces the amount of waste that goes into landfills and conserves energy and resources. Composting, on the other hand, is a perfect way to fertilise your garden or lawn naturally.
What Are Recycling and Composting?
Recycling and composting are two of the most effective ways to reduce waste and help protect the environment. Recycling involves collecting used materials and either reprocessing them into new products or using them to create energy.
On the other hand, composting is breaking down organic material, such as compostable bags, into a nutrient-rich soil amendment.
Difference Between Recycling and Composting
Both recycling and composting have several benefits. Despite these benefits, recycling and composting are often misunderstood or misused. To effectively reduce waste, it is essential to understand how these processes work and what materials are best suited for each.
The Process of Recycling
In the recycling process, items are collected and taken to a facility where they are sorted by type. After sorting, the materials are cleaned and processed into new products. Compostable bags or compostable materials should not be included in the recycling process as they can contaminate the stream.
What Can You Recycle
Some everyday items that can be recycled include aluminium cans, glass bottles, plastic containers and paper. Recycling can help reduce pollution and conserve natural resources.
Benefits of Recycling
- Conserves Resources
Recycling conserves valuable resources. It takes less energy to make products from recycled materials than from virgin materials. Recycling also reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Generates Jobs
Recycling generates jobs. The recycling industry employs more people than the waste management and disposal industry.
- Reduces Pollution
Recycling helps to keep our environment clean. When we recycle, we keep materials out of landfills and incinerators, which helps reduce pollution and conserve space.
The Process of Composting
Composting is the breakdown of organic matter by bacteria and other microorganisms. This process can occur in the presence or absence of oxygen. Composting is a slow process that can take several months to complete.
What Can You Compost?
Compostable materials include leaves, grass clippings, compostable bags, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells and manure. Non-compostable materials include meat, bones, dairy products, fat, oils and synthetic materials.
Benefits of Composting
When done correctly, compostables can be a great way to reduce your environmental impact and save money. Here are some of the top benefits of composting:
- Reduces the Amount of Waste Sent to Landfills
When organic waste decomposes in a landfill, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. By composting your organic waste instead of sending it to a landfill, you can help reduce methane emissions and slow down climate change.
- Saves Money on Disposal Costs
Composting your compostable bags or biodegradable waste at home is free, whilst disposing of it in a landfill can cost up to $50 per ton. By composting, you can save money on disposal costs and keep your organic waste out of landfills.
- Creates a Nutrient-Rich Soil for Your Garden
Compostable waste is an excellent source of nutrients for your plants, helping them to grow stronger and healthier. Using compost in your garden can reduce the need for chemical fertilisers and save money on gardening costs.
- Improves Water Retention in Soil
Compostable materials help improve soil’s water-holding capacity, making it an excellent amendment for gardens in dry climates. By composting, you can help your plants survive drought conditions and reduce the need for irrigation.
The Challenges of Recycling and Composting
The key challenge with composting is getting the proper ratio of ingredients, including the right amount of moisture and oxygen. The compost will become anaerobic and smell bad if there’s too much moisture. The compost will only break down properly if there’s enough moisture.
Other challenges include controlling pests and keeping the compost pile at the right temperature.
Recycling can also be challenging because it requires sorting materials into different types, such as glass, plastic and metal. Finding a market for recycled material can also be difficult.
Why Composting Is a Better Option than Recycling in the Food Industry
The food industry is one of the biggest contributors to waste in our society. Every year, restaurants, grocery stores and other food-related businesses waste tonnes of food. This wasted food ends up in landfills, where it decomposes and emits methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills. When food waste is composted, it is turned into a nutrient-rich soil amendment that can be used to improve the quality of your garden soil. Composting also reduces methane emissions from food waste decomposing in landfills.
If you are a business owner in the food industry, composting can also save you money on disposal costs, help you reduce your environmental impact and provide a valuable product that can be used to improve your landscaping.
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