Cool the Climate – Compost
International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) 5 – 11 May 2019
This year’s theme is ‘Cool the Climate – Compost’. The week aims to raise awareness of the benefits of using compost to improve or maintain high quality soil, to grow healthy plants, reduce the use of fertilizer and pesticides, improve water quality and protect the environment. There are many ways to help reduce our carbon footprint and reduce climate change — adding compost to the soil is one tool in reducing climate change.
Throughout the week, Councils across Northern Ireland will be encouraging householders to recycle and compost their waste by:
- Using their kerbside food and garden waste recycling collection services;
- Ensuring they separate their garden waste at Household Recycling Centres; and
- Composting at home – find out how here
How you can help us ‘Cool the Climate’
Recycle your food and garden waste
Food and garden waste that is sent to landfill doesn’t harmlessly breakdown. It has a big impact on the environment as it rots and releases methane – a harmful greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Many councils offer a food recycling collection service. The schemes vary, with some councils collecting food waste mixed in with garden waste, while others collect the food waste separately.
To find out more about food and garden recycling services available in your area enter your postcode into our Recycling Locator tool
Using your kerbside recycling collections and Household Recycling Centres to recycle food and garden waste is good for our environment, reduces your council’s waste disposal costs and supports jobs in Northern Ireland’s recycling industry.
The end products include compost which is used in Northern Ireland to help restore and increase organic matter back into soil to improve crop yields and create crucial growing environments for the future. Ultimately, this helps keep that food coming back to the kitchen table from local growers.
What happens to your food and garden waste once collected?
More and more people in Northern Ireland are recycling their food and garden waste. But have you ever wondered what happens to this waste once it’s collected from your home or Household Recycling Centre?
All of our food and garden waste is composted at licensed facilities in Northern Ireland. Most of it is taken to an enclosed composting facility called an In-Vessel Composter (IVC). Some of our food waste is taken to a similar facility called an Anaerobic Digester (AD). The composting processes and the end products from both IVC and AD are very similar.
In-Vessel Composter (IVC)
This involves mixing food waste with garden waste – shredding it and then composting it in an enclosed system for around 2-4 weeks (temperatures of up to 70°C speed up the process and ensure any harmful microbes are killed off).
The material is then left outside to mature for a further 1-3 months with regular turning and checks to ensure quality before going on to be used as soil conditioner.
Anaerobic Digester (AD)
This uses microorganisms to break down food waste, animal manure, slurries and energy crops in the absence of oxygen, inside an enclosed system.
As it breaks down it gives off methane, which is collected and converted into biogas and used to generate electricity, heat or transport fuels. It also creates a nutrient-rich digestate that can be used as a fertiliser for agriculture and in land regeneration.