Composting is nature’s way of recycling through the biodegradation of organic waste, turning it into a valuable fertiliser.
English soils have a rapidly declining organic carbon content that should be replenished in part by transforming biowaste into suitable soil improvers.
Here at Eco, we operate open windrow composting solutions that turn organic green waste into an organic peat-free soil conditioner, as well as other sustainable products.
As one of the founding members of the Composting Association (now REA), Eco has helped shape the way organic material is recycled in the UK and we continue to pioneer the development of new technologies, ensuring that the process is as efficient and environmentally sound as possible.
Last year, we celebrated recycling our one millionth ton of green waste. Eco has recycled 1,025,537 tonnes of green waste with the resulting compost being supplied to horticulture and agricutlure, returning goodness back in the soil to support future growth. Not only is this a great example of a natural circular economy, but it has also prevented 583,323 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted to the atmosphere.
Stringent Quality Control
The green waste is processed for up to 12 weeks. Incoming waste is checked for contamination, shredded and then formed into batches called windrows. These windrows are then monitored daily using probes and sophisticated software to ensure optimum temperature, moisture and oxygen levels are maintained throughout the cycle.
At the end of the composting process, the compost is expertly graded into different products for use, ranging from high-quality organic soil improver to growing media and top soils. Even the challenging lignin is recovered through specialist cleaning and drying which produces a high quality sustainable Biomass Fuel to generate renewable energy.
Throughout the process, Eco’s team of trained technicians’ sample and analyse all of the products to ensure quality specifications are met along with external auditors that ensure the PAS:100 accreditation is maintained.
1. Dorset's garden offcuts
Through the general public taking it to tips, putting it in green bins or local landscapers tipping it with us, Dorset's garden waste is collected at Eco.
All of this garden waste is shredded down in order to be put into open windrows
3. Open Windrow maturation
The shredded garden offcuts are put into open windrows. These mature for between 6-9 weeks, with stringent daily checks, reviewing Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide levels, heat and moisture, as per PAS100 protocol.
4. Expert Product Creation
Once we're happy with the maturation of the compost, we then expertly screen the material to produce our range of quality soil improvers and growing media.
With slow-release nitrates and other nutrients, compost provides natural nutrients to soil, but vitally, compost also brings an abundance of organic carbon.
In the UK, but also worldwide, organic carbon is steadily depleting. Without it, organic carbon crops cannot be grown.
95% of our food comes from soil. British farming, in some areas, already faces historically low organic carbon content.
Organic carbon in soil can be renewed over long periods by restorative agricultural practices or through the application of soil improvers and organic material, such as manure and compost.
Around 20% of green waste typically ends up as oversize, along with left over contamination, which is mistakenly discarded by customers. Eco has invested in a sophisticated treatment facility which transforms this material through drying, separation and screening into a renewable biomass fuel for electricity and heating. This replaces virgin alternatives, such as woodchip, and ultimately reduces the number of trees cut down.
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