A material is compostable when it can be transformed into compost: its organic elements are transformed into inorganic simple elements (water, carbon dioxide and methane). Materials must be organic and natural to produce compost: the material can be transformed when it ends its usability, through an industrial or domestic process.
The material then is decomposed by bacteria creating a fertilizing substance that can be reused in farms. The result of this process is called “compost”, a substance similar to humus and rich in organic materials. Compost is used in farming to enhance the soil’s fertility. Composting process is based on biological decomposition of organic materials through bacteria and other microorganisms.
Waste is accumulated in composting plants where they are biodegraded; after two more stages of organic oxidation and maturation it finally releases carbon dioxide, water, compost and heating.
This process is divided into several stages:
- Fermentation: the first stage is defined by the work of microorganisms, which bring the temperature initially to 40-45°C and then to 70°C. This stage sanitizes the compost and eliminates pathogens or parasites.
- Maturation: after a period from 30 to 60 days the temperature drops again to 40°C, and some specialized fungus and bacteria help the microorganisms to decompose the most resistant elements of the material.
- Final decomposition: the pile of material finally undergoes a treatment where earthworms or small invertebrates accelerate and finish the process.
At the end of the process, the waste is transformed in compost. Thanks to this transformation, it can be used as fertilizer in agriculture or floriculture.