Green Waste Mandurah includes garden organics such as grass and weed trimmings, shrub and yard debris, hedge clippings, palm fronds, and leaves. It is collected curbside in residential tan bins.
When disposed of in landfills, our recycled green waste releases methane and carbon dioxide, greenhouse gasses that harm the environment. It also clogs drains.
Although we can’t eliminate food waste, composting reduces greenhouse gas emissions and returns nutrients to the soil. It also helps soil retain water, which is crucial during droughts. While the best way to minimize waste is by shopping for sustainable foods and preparing meals carefully, most of us will have leftover scraps that can’t be consumed. These scraps can be recycled through home composting or commercial facilities. Some states have even passed laws to divert organic waste from landfills by requiring businesses and institutions to compost their food scraps.
Landfills decompose organic material anaerobically, which produces greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide. Composting, conversely, mimics nature’s process of aerobic decomposition. During this process, microorganisms break down organic materials and convert them into a rich, nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be used to help plants grow.
The key to a successful compost pile is to mix a variety of carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich materials, known as browns and greens. Typical brown items include dried leaves, grass clippings, sawdust, shredded newspaper, and corn stalks. Food scraps, coffee grounds, and garden leaves are greens that add nitrogen to the compost. To keep your pile balanced, you should aim to have a ratio of two to three parts browns to one part greens.
In addition to reducing methane emissions, composting can improve soil quality, increase crop yields, and provide a local resource for gardens, parks, landscapers, and farms. It can also be used to restore or improve contaminated or degraded soils. To ensure your compost is ready to use, it should be dark and smell earthy with a texture similar to that of a damp, wrung-out sponge.
The easiest and most efficient way to compost is by building a backyard pile or purchasing a community or household compost bin. Keeping your compost pile or bin in a dry, shady place with good drainage is important. You should also turn your compost regularly to aerate it and speed up the decomposition process. If you cannot compost at home, consider using an app such as OLIO that connects neighbors and local businesses to share their surplus food instead of throwing it away.
Using chemical fertilizers containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) for crop production has led to environmental problems. These include depletion of soil organic matter, deterioration in the biological equilibrium in soil ecosystems, and pollution of water bodies. Green waste can be converted into organic fertilizers using the nutrient-rich composting process to reduce the impact of these harmful chemicals on the environment.
The nutrient content in organic compost can be optimized by adding animal manure, sewage sludge waste, and plant sources. The material should be processed properly to ensure safety and sustainability to achieve an ideal nutrient content. This can be done using different treatment methods, such as animal feeding, anaerobic digestion, and composting.
NPK-rich biofertilizers produced from green waste can increase the yield of crops significantly compared to conventional phosphate-based fertilizers. They can also increase plants’ photosynthetic capacity and help grow flowers, fruits, and vegetables. These biofertilizers can also improve the resistance of plants to drought and stress.
Organic fertilizers are a great alternative to traditional chemical ones and can be easily incorporated into garden and home landscapes. For example, a simple solution to recycling food scraps is to put them in a compost bin or worm farm. When the compost is ready, it can be applied to soil as a natural fertilizer, enriching the garden with beneficial microorganisms, nutrients, and organic carbon.
Banana peels, on the other hand, are a great organic source of potassium. They are also rich in calcium and phosphorus, which can benefit fruit trees and flowering plants, such as roses.
Transitioning to a production method that is not reliant on synthetic fertilizers can take three to five years and requires a lot of planning. NCAT’s ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program has a wealth of trusted and practical resources to help farmers increase self-reliance and limit their dependence on chemical fertilizers. These include publications, tipsheets, and videos.
Biofuels are renewable energy sources derived from organic sources and can replace fossil fuels in transportation. The primary benefit of these fuels is the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, their production and use may also have negative environmental impacts. These impacts are generally analyzed using life cycle assessment (LCA), a method of quantifying the environmental impact of different products, processes, and services at all stages in their life.
Biofuels can be produced from various green wastes and agricultural byproducts, including corn ethanol, biodiesel, and biomass. They can be solid, liquid, or gaseous and can be used to power cars, trucks, airplanes, and ships. They can also be used to produce electricity.
First-generation biofuels are made from food crops like corn, wheat, and sugarcane. These fuels are sometimes referred to as conventional or biogenic ethanol and biodiesel, which have been widely adopted. However, these biofuels have been criticized for their need to use significant amounts of land reserved for food production. They also take valuable agricultural resources away from other uses and increase food prices.
Cellulosic biofuels are made from woody biomass, crop residues, and other waste materials. These sources can avoid the problems associated with first-generation biofuels, such as requiring large tracts of land and competing with food for agricultural purposes. They can also prevent using chemicals and fertilizers, which are often polluting. However, a growing demand for these fuels could increase deforestation and land use with high biodiversity values.
Third-generation biofuels, which are based on algae and other microbes, could be a solution to these issues. These fuels do not require dedicated cropland or water and can be grown in wastewater, saline, or brackish water. They also can be used to replace aviation fuel and help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
While biofuels can help reduce climate change and other environmental impacts, they are only part of a larger strategy. Reducing transportation energy use through public transportation, carpooling, or telecommuting is a much more effective way to reduce overall energy consumption and its associated impacts.
The global depletion of fossil fuels is accelerating the search for renewable feedstocks to produce new and alternative polymers, commodity chemicals, and fuels. The lignocellulosic biomass fraction containing lignin has considerable potential to provide these products due to its relatively low cost, low energy consumption, and high conversion efficiency to bio-based chemicals.
However, the process of extracting lignin from green waste remains challenging. This is especially true for lignocellulosic biomass with a lower lignin content, such as grasses and leaves. This material requires less harsh pretreatment processes than woody lignocellulosic biomass and reduced energy requirements during the enzymatic hydrolysis that yields monomeric sugars.
Researchers are investigating deep eutectic solvent (DES) assisted techniques to enhance lignin extraction from these herbaceous plant materials. During the DES process, the lignin is selectively solubilized by the ionic liquid, while the remaining cellulose and hemicellulose are precipitated in an anti-solvent. In contrast to a typical ionic liquid extraction process, which typically requires an extended residence time to dissolve the complex cell wall structure of the biomass sample, the lignin is rapidly solubilized and separated at the interface between the ionic liquid and the cellulose/hemicellulose.
Another area of research is the direct enzymatic separation of lignin from green waste, which can be done by using white rot fungi and laccase-peroxidase enzymes to break down lignin into its building blocks. However, this is a very slow process, and the results are only sometimes satisfactory. Researchers are currently exploring using a binary LA: FA solvent system to improve this procedure, which should lead to a more efficient and economical lignin extraction from green waste.
Proteins are also important components in green waste, and the recovery of proteins from press cakes produced during the pressing of green waste is possible through aqueous extraction. The resulting press juice can replace or supplement expensive fermentation media, such as soybean matter, in producing PHA. Aqueous protein extraction is feasible even on a large scale, and a crude Kjeldahl protein yield of up to 40% can be achieved with minimal biomass pretreatment.