Humankind is facing tremendous challenges in agriculture; population and thus food demand is growing, cities are expanding, and climate is changing. Most agricultural soils have been, however, degraded by intensive modern agricultural systems. Sustainable soil management has never been more important. Especially if we consider the fact that in addition to providing us with our food, agricultural soils have substantial potential to act as a global carbon sink. Soils are in fact the world’s largest terrestrial pool of carbon!1 It is estimated that soils can sequester around 20 Pg carbon in 25 years, which is more than 10% of the anthropogenic emissions.2
The compost effect
We need to change our soil management practices and restore our degraded agricultural soils. Adding compost is an important tool to increase soil organic matter. Adding compost strengthens the incorporation of organic carbon in soil size fractions and reduces organic carbon mineralization.3 Compost is key to sequestering carbon in agricultural soil. 4
Turning organics into compost
Compost is processed from recycled organic materials, such as garden organics, food organics, crop residues, biosolids and manures. Diverting these materials from landfill also reduces methane emissions. Making good quality compost is, however, not an easy process, as waste can vary in composition, is often contaminated and environmental conditions for the composting bacteria to grow can be far from ideal. Oxygen levels, humidity, temperature, density of the material, all have an influence on the composting process. Years of experience has taught the experts of Waste Treatment Technologies how to convert organic waste in different circumstances into good quality compost. They know the ins and outs of this challenging process and know which parameters to adjust when things do not go as planned.
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1.Land use, land use change, and forestry. Summary for policy-makers. IPCC, 2007, 2.Soil Carbon Sequestration | FAO SOILS PORTAL | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 3.Voluntary guidelines for sustainable soil management, FAO, 4.Compost key to sequestering carbon in the soil, Science Daily, 2019