How to convert garbage into fertilizer

How To Make Fertilizer From Kitchen Waste?

Fertilizing your garden is one of the best things you can do for it.

Proper fertilizing leads to bigger blooms, more abundant harvests, and overall happier plants.

But good-quality fertilizer can be expensive.

Luckily for you, I’m here to teach you how to make the perfect garden fertilizer from materials you already have!

Kitchen waste is something we all deal with, no matter how hard we try to eat everything before it goes bad. This is especially true when it comes to plant products.

There really aren’t any fruits or vegetables around where you eat the entire thing–apples have cores, bananas have peels, etc. So what to do with those extra plant products?

Fertilizer, of course! It’s simple, efficient, and a great cost-saver. It’s also good for the environment, and who doesn’t love that? Keep reading to find out more about how to make your very own garden fertilizer from kitchen waste!

In this Guide You’ll Learn:

  • Why you should make your own garden fertilizer
  • How to make your own garden fertilizer
  • The best ingredients for your garden fertilizer
  • And so much more!

What's in this Guide?

What Are The Benefits Making Your Own Fertilizer?

There are a lot of benefits to making your own fertilizer from kitchen waste. By making your own fertilizer, you’re helping your garden, your wallet, and the planet. That’s a win-win-win right there. Below are a few of the many benefits of making fertilizer from your kitchen scraps.

It’s Good For Your Wallet

I don’t know about you, but if I can avoid paying for something I can feasibly do myself, I will absolutely give it a shot. Making your own fertilizer is super easy, usually organic, and you don’t have to pay more than a few bucks to get started.

Instead of paying for great fertilizer, which can really start to break the bank if you have a lot of plants, you can make your own for the simple cost of a compost bin. That’s it–the rest of the materials, you already have! 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, gardening as a whole is economically profitable (as long as you do it right). In fact, the average savings when growing your own food is over $400 a season, although it does depend on where you live and how much you’re growing.

If you’d like to know more about the economic impact of gardening this research-based article is right for you.

Read More >> What is the right fertilizer for your Orange Trees?

You Control Exactly What Goes Into Your Fertilizer

This one’s kind of a given: if you make your own fertilizer, you can control exactly what goes in it. Don’t want to use grass cuttings that have been treated with inorganic fertilizers? Don’t need to! You can make organic fertilizer this way, by adding all your own ingredients without added pesticides or chemicals.

It’s also perfect for regulating the nutrients your plants get. If you know your garden tends to need extra nitrogen, you can pump it up with coffee grounds and vegetable waste.

If your plants are calcium-deficient, add extra eggshells.

By making your own fertilizer, you can tailor it perfectly to the needs of your garden.

It’s Good For the Planet

Find me a gardener who doesn’t care at least a little about the environment and I will find you Bigfoot. It’s theoretically possible, but very unlikely.

Up to 25% of waste destined for landfills comes from our kitchens and gardens.

By using our kitchen scraps for our gardens, we both eliminate the need for store-bought fertilizers (thus reducing plastic waste) and keep food waste out of landfills. Truly a win-win for us and the planet.

Oh, and our gardens, too, since the organic nutrients from kitchen waste is as good as, if not better than, just about every fertilizer you could find in a garden center.

Read More >> Best Fertilizers for Blueberries

What Do You Need To Know About Making Fertilizer From Kitchen Waste?

There are a few things you need to consider if you’re thinking about making garden fertilizer from kitchen waste. You should think about the space you have available, how much kitchen waste you produce, and different methods of using it in your garden.

Keep reading to learn more about what you should keep in mind when thinking about making your own garden fertilizer.

How Can You Use Kitchen Waste In Your Garden?

There are pretty much two ways you can go about using kitchen scraps in your garden.

Option A is to simply dig a hole near the roots of your plant, toss your scraps in there, and cover it back up. This works especially well for individual plants that are deficient in a particular nutrient. For example, if you have a potted tomato plant that needs more nitrogen, scoop some coffee grounds into the soil and you’re all set. This isn’t the best option for large swaths of garden, however, as it’s pretty tedious and time-consuming.

Option B is the one that most gardeners prefer: composting. It’s admittedly more complicated than shoveling some coffee grounds onto your plants, but it’s worth it. Composting is great for when you have a larger garden to fertilize, as you make it in batches.

Composting, simply put, is mixing green and brown matter (definitions to come) until it all decomposes and make what many gardeners like to call “black gold. ” Green matter is composed of things like lawn trimmings, weeds that you pulled up, and (you guessed it) kitchen scraps! Brown matter is stuff like cardboard, paper towel rolls, paper towels themselves, etc.

For the sake of this article, we’ll mostly be discussing composting, since it requires more steps and materials.

The YouTube video below is super helpful and informative in regards to composting, but don’t worry–I’ve still got plenty of tips and tricks for you.

How Much Kitchen Waste Do You Produce?

This question ties into my previous point on the different methods of using kitchen waste as fertilizer. Do you live in a family of four who eat predominantly fruits and vegetables, or are you a carnivore who lives alone?

Probably neither, but considering your living situation is important when deciding how to use your kitchen scraps.

Ideally, compost is 50/50 green and brown matter. If you don’t produce enough kitchen scraps, but have tons of brown matter, composting may not be for you. Similarly, if you don’t use a lot of paper products but do eat lots of fruits and vegetables, your compost ratio may still be off.

Finding a balance is key for a good, nutritious compost. Go with your gut—if you don’t think a compost pile is right for you, then you can simply plant your kitchen waste near your plants and watch the magic happen that way.

Read More >> Which fertilizers to use for Raspberries?

How Much Space Do You Have?

Again, this question really ties into my previous two.

Composting is only an option if you have a backyard—believe me, you do not want to try keeping a compost bin in your house. All that wonderful, biological magic really does stink. Keeping it on your balcony in an apartment isn’t all that great, either.

If you’re a city dweller with a balcony garden, or simply don’t want to mess up the aesthetic of your backyard paradise, composting probably isn’t the method for you. Nothing wrong with planting your kitchen waste directly into the soil—it still works wonders!

What Do I Need to Make Fertilizer From Kitchen Waste?

For those of you who are planning to bury their kitchen waste in the soil next to their plants—congratulations! All you need is kitchen scraps (stay tuned for a list of the best kitchen scraps for your garden) and a shovel.

For everyone who wants to try their hand at composting, things are a little more complicated.

You’ll need that green and brown matter that we talked about earlier, a shovel (a pretty big one), and a composting bin. Composting bins come and all shapes and sizes, and there’s one to suit virtually every gardener’s needs.

This article about different types of composting bins details the six most popular styles and will help you pick the right one for you.

Tips For Using Kitchen Waste To Fertilize Your Garden

So now you know the basics of using kitchen waste as garden fertilizer, but to become a real expert, check out these awesome tips and tricks for making the best fertilizer possible.

The Best Kitchen Scraps For Your Garden

While kitchen waste is a common occurrence, not all kitchen scraps are created equal. When deciding what to use for fertilizer, avoid the following: meat, dairy, grains, and oils.

The best, most nutrient-packed kitchen scraps for your garden include fruit and vegetable trimmings (especially banana peels), coffee grounds, and washed eggshells.

Fertilizers contain three key elements: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

In regards to store-bought fertilizer, you’ll see the composition of these elements as a series of three numbers (for example, 10-10-10). When making your own, of course, you should make sure you include these three elements via your kitchen scraps.

Coffee grounds in particular are high in nitrogen, as are most fruit-and-veggie peels. Banana peels, avocados, and beans contain rich amounts of potassium. Including phosphorus in your home-made fertilizer is a bit trickier, but most fruit-and-vegetable scraps contain a fair amount.

Don’t stress too much about getting the right ratio–this is just something to keep in mind!

How To Maximize Your Compost’s Benefits

When it comes to composting, it seems pretty simple: throw everything in the pile and let the magic happen. While that’s true, there’s a little more to it.

You don’t want your compost to ever totally dry out, so if it’s the dry season, considering watering it a little bit. It also helps to wet cardboard and other paper products before putting them on the pile.

Aeration is very important for your compost as well.

You should use a large pitchfork or shovel to turn your compost every 2-4 weeks. The compost on the inside of the pile should go to the outside, and the compost on the outside should go to the inside.

Critters can either help or hurt your compost.

Consider putting up chicken wire to keep furry friends out, but having worms in your compost is fantastic. Worms speed up the decomposition process and enrich your compost, turning it into even better fertilizer.

For more info about how worms can benefit your compost pile, check out this article about compositing for beginners.

Cut Up Your Raw Materials

This is my favorite tip for effective composting, easy as it is.

Cut up your materials! If you’re throwing in a banana peel, chop it up first. Adding printer paper? Put it through the shredder if you can.

Breaking up the raw materials before adding them to your compost pile helps speed up the process. It creates more manageable meals for worms and makes turning your pile way easier. Think of it as chewing your food before swallowing it.

Don’t Sweat It!

Composting might seem a little tricky, but really, it’s super easy. Just follow the biggest rules (keep a consistent ratio of green-to-brown materials, aerate your pile, and be patient), and you’ll have beautiful, rich compost in no time. Even if you do everything wrong, you’ll still do it right.

My Final Thoughts Making Fertilizer From Kitchen Waste 

Making your own garden fertilizer from kitchen waste is easy, convenient, and good for both your wallet and the environment. As long as you loosely follow the basic steps, you’ll have your own homemade black gold in no time.

And if you choose to go the route of adding scraps directly to your garden rather than composting, no worries! It’s just as beneficial to your plants, so don’t sweat it.

No matter what, patience is key! Decomposition is a process, and it doesn’t happen overnight. So sit back, relax, and enjoy watching the process happen.

It really is one of nature’s miracles, and you can make it happen right in your own garden. I hope you enjoy making your own fertilizer from kitchen waste, and enjoy the bountiful harvest it will bring you!

Cause for Concern Over Organic Fertilizer Made from Food Waste?

By Stephen Meyer & Thomas Marrs

In December 2016, the National Organic Program (NOP) issued guidance 5034-1 that can be interpreted as approving of food waste for use in organic crop production (for example, as an input in fertilizer) without regard to whether such waste contains prohibited synthetics, posing potential risks to investments relying on this guidance as well as to the organic brand itself. Combine this with the absence of guidance, regulation, uniform definition, or oversight by the NOP of the rapidly expanding use of anaerobic digesters to process food waste, and the risks are further exacerbated.

The idea that organic crops may be produced with inputs containing synthetics recently made news for a different reason. In June 2016, in a decision that generated much interest in the organic industry, a court vacated NOP guidance that approved of green waste compost containing the synthetic Bifenthrin, a residential insecticide, for use in organic crop production.

In light of the NOP’s more recent guidance that affirmed the use of numerous substances, including food waste, the scrutiny of the inputs that are used to create organic crops deserves renewed attention. Several companies are investing significantly based on the assumption, or the hope, that fertilizer produced with food waste is or will be approved for use in organic crop production. In fact, several companies are already selling organic fertilizer made from food waste for use in organic crop production.

To the extent the NOP 5034-1 is interpreted as a blanket approval of food waste that fails to distinguish among the substances within the food waste, one could argue that it is inconsistent with the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (the “OFPA”), which generally prohibits the use of synthetics in the production of organic crops. More clarity is needed regarding the use of food waste as an input in fertilizer used in organic crop production. In the interim, organic food producers should be cautious about using fertilizer created from food waste.


NOP’s Subsequently Vacated Guidance Regarding Green Waste

On June 20, 2016, a federal district court invalidated NOP Guidance 5016: The Allowance of Green Waste in Organic Production Systems. In that case, the court granted Western Growers amicus status in the lawsuit.

NOP 5016 was issued to address the problem that composters cannot always control their green waste feedstock and that synthetics can find their way into the composting. The pesticide Bifenthrin (a prohibited synthetic) was increasingly found in green waste compost sold for organic crop production, and a complete ban of synthetics was not seen by some as practical.

NOP 5016 was a compromise. It allowed pesticide residue so long as the green waste was not subject to direct application of prohibited substances during the composting process and that any residual pesticide levels do not contribute to the contamination of crops, soil or water. NOP 5016 defined “green waste” to include “domestic and commercial food waste.”

The federal court held that NOP 5016 violated the Administrative Procedures Act, and the court issued an order of vacatur effective August 22, 2016. This essentially put the composting industry in the same position that it was in prior to NOP 5016. The vacatur of NOP 5016 demonstrates the inherent risk in relying on NOP guidance that may be inconsistent with statutes.


The Food Waste Problem

“Food waste” is a general term for the unused portion of our food supply, including food from retailers and consumers. An estimated 40 percent of the U.S. food supply, or 133 billion pounds annually, is wasted. This discarded food waste constitutes the largest part of our landfills and its decomposition is the third largest source of methane emissions. Not surprisingly, converting food waste to energy in the form of methane and subsequently a fertilizer rather than letting it rot in landfills has generated considerable interest as a solution to the environmental food waste problem.


Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic digestion is one method of transforming food waste into fertilizer products. Anaerobic digestion is a collection of processes by which bacteria break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. The process can be used to manage waste and produce fuels. Feedstocks can include biodegradable waste materials such as waste paper, grass clippings, leftover food, sewage and animal waste. The primary products of anaerobic digestion are biogas, digestate and water.

Although the process of anaerobic digestion is not new, its use on an industrial scale has increased exponentially since 2000. The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) recently noted that the rapid growth of the anaerobic digestion industry has resulted in a “sharp increase in [organic] applications submitted to OMRI for [anaerobic digestion] derived products.” OMRI also noted that most products derived from anaerobic digestion do not meet NOP’s criteria “for compost or processed manure, even if they are pathogen free.”

For industrial production, food waste is dumped into large, sealed tanks that look like silos. The digestion of food waste produces a biogas consisting of methane, carbon dioxide and traces of other gases that can be used as a fuel. For example, in Oakland, the East Bay Municipal Utility District uses anaerobic digestion to turn food waste into energy.

The anaerobic digestion of food waste also results in nutrient-rich liquid that can be used to make fertilizer. The remaining solids can be dried and used as a soil amendment but also has other applications such as bedding. This begs the question whether fertilizer created in this manner is suitable for use in organic crop production.


The Controversy Over Creating Organic Fertilizer From Food Waste

The organic industry is flourishing. The industry’s annual double-digit growth can be attributed, at least in part, to the public’s belief that chemicals and synthetics can be harmful to human health and the environment, and the public’s perception that organic foods are free of such substances.

Marketing fertilizer created from food waste for use in organic crop production can be very lucrative, as well as environmentally beneficial. Companies have therefore started using anaerobic digestion to generate organic fertilizer from food waste while enthusiastically claiming that they can earn a healthy profit doing so while helping the environment.

A February 2017 New York Times article focused on American Organic Energy (AOE), which boasts plans for the largest anaerobic digester east of the Mississippi, capable of processing over 180,000 tons of food waste annually. The article quoted AOE’s self-described process of breaking down the food waste using machinery that “would crush the cans and bottles that would inevitably ride in with the food; metals would be extracted and packages shredded, and with the addition of water, random plastic would float to the top of the tanks while glass and grit settled to the bottom. ‘We know we’re gonna get loads from supermarkets with unopened tuna cans and expired bacon packages…while residential food is going to be in a plastic bag with a soup can or broken glass in it—that’s the way Americans throw out their garbage.’”  The article continued that AOE’s philosophy “was diametrically opposed to that of community composters, who insist that participants honor and defend the integrity of their organics, down to the removal of tiny stickers from lemons and limes.”

Anaerobic digestion is not the only way to convert food waste into fertilizer. Other companies are finding novel ways to convert food waste into fertilizer for use in organic crop production. California Safe Soil (CSS) recently opened a production facility in McClellan, California to recycle 32,000 tons of food waste per year and change that waste into fertilizer for 128,000 agricultural acres using its patented technology. CSS has also partnered with the Sacramento Kings to collect food waste (such as lettuce or pizza dough) from the restaurant and food operations after Kings games and other events at the Golden 1 Center, for use as a fertilizer input.

Other companies are following suit and using food waste to create fertilizer. WISErg Corporation (WISErg), located in the Seattle area, already sells an organic fertilizer made from food waste. Both OMRI and the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) have approved several of WISErg’s fertilizer products made from food waste for use in organic crop production.


Organic Products Are Generally Presumed Free Of Synthetics

Organic agriculture is governed by the general rule that natural substances are allowed while synthetics are prohibited. However, organic products are not, and have never been, completely free of synthetic and artificial ingredients. To be labeled “organic,” a product need only comply with the legal framework, which allows synthetic and artificial products to be used in organic farming under certain, limited circumstances.

The OFPA required the establishment of an organic certification program, the NOP, for products that have been produced using organic methods. The OFPA also established standards an agricultural product must satisfy to be sold or labeled as organic. Among other things, the agricultural product must “have been produced and handled without the use of synthetic chemicals, except as otherwise provided in” the OFPA.

The OFPA defines “synthetic” as “a substance that is formulated or manufactured by a chemical process or by a process that chemically changes a substance extracted from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral sources, except that such term shall not apply to substances created by naturally occurring biological processes.

The OFPA also directed the establishment of a National List of approved and prohibited substances for use in organic production (“National List”). The National List includes a small number of synthetic chemicals that are approved for some limited applications in organic production. In order to be included within the exceptions on the National List, a synthetic substance must go through a comprehensive and open review process and receive approval.

Consistent with the OFPA, USDA organic regulations specifically prohibit the use of any “[s]ynthetic substances and ingredients” in organic crop production unless the synthetic substance is on the National List.

The distinction between synthetic and nonsynthetic (natural) substances is important. In contrast to synthetic substances, natural substances are generally approved for use in organic crop production unless specifically prohibited by the National List.

This basic framework also applies specifically to fertilizers allowed for use in organic crop production. NOP regulations governing fertilizers provide that the “producer must manage plant and animal materials to maintain or improve soil organic matter content in a manner that does not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water by plant nutrients, pathogenic organisms, heavy metals, or residues of prohibited substances.” Some have interpreted “plant and animal materials” as used in this regulation to include food waste. Importantly, however, this NOP regulation governing fertilizer also provides that a producer of organic crops must not use “[a]ny fertilizer or composted plant and animal material that contains a synthetic substance not included on the National List.”

The only practical exception to the no synthetics rule as applied to fertilizers are the few items listed on the National List at 7 C.F.R. § 205.601(j). The National List does not include either “food waste” or the various prohibited synthetics that are commonly found in food waste. Some would therefore argue that before it issued its December 2016 guidance, the NOP regulations contemplated the use of food waste in fertilizer for organic crop production so long as the food waste did not contain prohibited synthetics.

In short, at least historically, to label their product as organic, fertilizer producers must have documented that all of their inputs are free from prohibited synthetic materials.


The NOP’s 2016 Guidance Generally Approving of Food Waste

On December 2, 2016, the NOP issued guidance document 5034-1 which lists “materials which are considered nonsynthetic (natural), and are not required to be included on the National List.”  The list includes “Food Processing By-Products” and “food waste” as nonsynthetic materials. The relevant portion of the guidance states that “Food Processing By-Products includes food waste, cannery waste, and pomaces. Plant and animal materials chemically altered by a manufacturing process are not permitted unless resulting material is provided for under § 205. 601” (i.e., the National List).

Some, relying in particular on the last sentence, may view this guidance as simply restating the existing law described above and providing that natural food waste (pure animal and plant materials) may be used in organic crop production but only if such waste were completely free of prohibited synthetics. This interpretation would appear to be consistent with the OFPA.

Others, however, may view this guidance as authorizing the use of food waste as an ingredient in fertilizer used in organic crop production without having to scrutinize the contents of the food waste for prohibited synthetics. Under this interpretation, the last sentence of the quoted guidance means that food waste is considered natural unless it is chemically altered by the fertilizer producer after the food waste is collected.

It is more difficult to reconcile this latter interpretation with the OFPA’s prohibition of all synthetics that are not on the National List. Based on a strict reading of the OFPA and regulations, it is relatively clear that all inputs in fertilizer approved for use in organic crop production should be scrutinized and found to be free of prohibited synthetics.

To obtain approval from OMRI for fertilizer used in organic crop production, an applicant must provide a complete written description of the manufacturing process. In addition, an applicant must submit a Total Ingredient List, which must provide the name, function, supplier, manufacturer and a detailed written description of how the ingredient is made, and the percentage of each ingredient, based on weight, in the product. A product must also be reviewed periodically to confirm that it continues to comply with OMRI Standards and Policies, which are based on the NOP regulations.

The OMRI Policy Manual states that in “order to conduct accurate and thorough reviews, OMRI must access all pertinent information regarding each product. This includes the identity and source of every ingredient and the manufacturing process for all ingredients and the final product. In addition, the OMRI Policy Manual provides that “OMRI requires applicants to fully disclose all ingredients and their sources to OMRI in order for products to be reviewed for listing.”

In the wake of this guidance, it appears there are at least two views of the current regulatory landscape related to food waste. Organic certifying agencies as well as those who are in the organic fertilizer business, deserve more clarity.


The NOP Should Clarify Its Stance on Food Waste

It is generally understood that the NOP’s current position is that unaltered food waste is considered a nonsynthetic and therefore permissible, but food waste that has additional prohibited synthetics added during the post-harvest production process (for example, the fertilizer producer’s addition of a chemical to control odor) is not allowed. As long as additional synthetics are not added to the food waste during processing, food waste is therefore ostensibly permitted for use in organic crop production since NOP has deemed it a natural substance and it is not prohibited by the National List.

The problem with the NOP’s current position is that not all food waste is created equal. One need only look at the waste bins in kitchens, restaurants and grocery stores to understand that food waste, almost by definition, is not pure but instead consists of many different substances, some nonsynthetic and others synthetic, which are prohibited for use in organic crop production.

The NOP’s recent guidance, which could be construed by some as labeling all food waste as a nonsynthetic, does not alter the reality that some of the components of food waste likely meet the OFPA’s definition of a “synthetic.”  For example, if a producer were to include plastic bags with food waste as an input for fertilizer presumably most people in the industry would agree that the product should not, and currently would not, be approved for use in organic crop production.

It is generally understood that food waste derived from processed foods contains synthetic materials that normally would not be allowed in organic products. Preservatives such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxyttoluene (BHT) are found in food products such as butter, cereals, snack foods and beer. BHA and BHT are not naturally occurring substances and meet the OFPA’s definition of a synthetic. They therefore should be prohibited for use in organic crop production. Yet food waste that contains BHA or BHT can now possibly be accepted by Material Review Organizations (MRO) as a “nonsynthetic” and an authorized input for organic fertilizer by the NOP.

The New York Times’ account of potential food waste collection includes the glass, plastic bags and other synthetics that contain such waste, which includes preservatives, strongly suggests that any number of things that would otherwise be prohibited in organic crop production could arguably now be included based on this guidance, as long as they are characterized as “food waste.”  This is a slippery slope, and it is not difficult to imagine how it could eventually damage the organic brand.


More Clarity Is Also Needed On Anaerobic Digestion

It may be argued that as long as food waste is processed using anaerobic digestion the resulting fertilizer should be approved for use in organic crop production. But the OFPA and the regulations do not recognize such a distinction.

A 2012 OMRI publication noted that some argued that “allowance of AD [anaerobic digestion]-derived products in organic production would boost the industry by providing an abundant source of low-cost fertilizers.” The OMRI publication also acknowledged, however, that the anaerobic digestion process “doesn’t really fit the current criteria for compost.”

The differences between anaerobic digestion and traditional composting may be material. The case has yet to be made that the process of anaerobic digestion mineralizes synthetics to the level of simple compounds that are usable by the plant. The scientific literature to date indicates that whether or not this level of decomposition occurs depends on the type of synthetic. For example, according to one article, “complete anaerobic mineralization has been demonstrated for phthalate, dimethyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate, dibutyl phthalate and butyl benzyl phthalate” whereas “no anaerobic degradation, or only partial conversion was established for dioctyl phthalate and bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate.”

There may be other significant differences between aerobic (traditional composting) versus anaerobic digestion. For example, another analysis has concluded that E. coli “survived significantly longer under anaerobic than under aerobic conditions. Survival ranged from approximately 2 weeks for aerobic manure and slurry to more than six months for anaerobic manure.”

The process of using anaerobic digestion to convert food waste into organic fertilizer remains in legal limbo. A petition was submitted to the NOP to include “anaerobic digestate—food waste” on the National List of approved synthetic substances. The petition is currently under submission and the requested Technical Review (TR) was just released. The Crops Subcommittee of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is scheduled to review this TR and the petition and make a recommendation for a formal vote at the October 2017 NOSB meeting. It is therefore also important that the NOP clarify its position on food waste prior to that vote.

Perhaps there is a way to use food waste as an input for fertilizers allowed in organic crop production without running afoul of the clear intent and meaning of the OFPA. For example, producers could ensure that they only use food waste that is free of prohibited synthetics as an input in fertilizer used in organic crop production.

The NOP should clarify its stance for the industry and confirm that food waste that contains any prohibited synthetics may not be used in organic crop production. After all, the OFPA represents a Congressional determination to prohibit all synthetics in organic crop production other than those contained on the National List. And federal agencies such as NOP, lack authority to issue rules or guidance that conflict with the intent of Congress.


Food Producers Should Use Caution Before Buying Organic Fertilizers Made From Food Waste

At least until further guidance is received from Congress, the NOP, or the courts, care must be taken in construing the NOP’s recent guidance as authorizing all food waste, regardless of its contents, for use in organic crop production. Producers—as well as growers, certifiers, and MROs—should be cautious as they navigate the uncertain regulatory landscape of organic fertilizer made from food waste. In sum, food producers should use considerable caution and await NOP clarification before buying organic fertilizers made from food waste that may contain prohibited synthetics.


Authors: Stephen Meyer ([email protected]) and Thomas Marrs ([email protected]), Downey Brand LLP

Compost instead of waste - Interesting articles - For clients

Rethinking the usual things

It would seem that what is common between a composter and traditional Karcher products? However, the automatic kitchen composter KALEA is a logical solution to a problem known to almost everyone. Garbage bins emit unpleasant odors, especially on hot days, and their regular cleaning is very difficult and does not come without contact with dirt, mold and even harmful insects. This problem is especially noticeable for residents of apartment buildings who use the same garbage collection site.

But why not look at the problem from a completely different angle? This is exactly what the Innovation Lab, established by Karcher about two years ago as an incubator of ideas for innovative solutions – also in areas outside the core business – has done.

A start-up atmosphere is created here, allowing teams of passionate employees to develop new technical approaches and lines of business. Looking for a simple solution for emptying waste containers in this creative space, the concept of a fundamentally new product for Karcher was born, radically different from the approaches originally considered. The KALEA kitchen composter shifts the focus from combating the problem itself to combating the cause of the problem - food waste generated in the kitchen.

Several prototypes of the composter are already available and preparations are underway to bring it to market. In order to market the first finished product that emerged from the forge of innovations, an own company, KALEA GmbH, was established.

How does the Innovation Lab work?

Clients' problems are analyzed by teams of employees, consisting of specialists of different profiles. Iterative sprints, aligned with the concept of Lean Startup Development, allow you to develop initial approaches to solving a problem and creating a business model, after which the most promising concepts are brought in the Lab to market readiness. In this way, Karcher creates a reserve for the future even apart from its daily activities.


Why look for a cleaning solution when you can avoid the pollution itself? “The ability to transform this idea into a finished product is due to the freedom of thought that the Karcher Innovation Lab gives us,” says Christian Gaertner, one of the three CEOs of KALEA. – Turning organic waste into compost means turning garbage into fertilizer for plants. Our idea was not only to make it easier for people to deal with biological waste, but also to transform it into something useful. Our KALEA kitchen composter is a simple, clean and environmentally friendly solution for recycling waste within your own four walls. And the compost it produces in just 48 hours also benefits the environment.”

From idea to realization

“In the search for the best solution for emptying waste containers, we at some point focused on what customers really want,” recalls Christian Gärtner. After that, instead of continuing to develop the original approach, the team began to look for an answer to the question of how the problem could be avoided in principle. And she found it: “The KALEA kitchen composter is the best and, above all, a complete solution that meets all the needs and wishes of consumers,” says Gärtner.

Of course, the path from the idea born in the Innovation Lab to the founding of KALEA was not a straight and smooth one, but the team was eager to seize the opportunity and worked enthusiastically to put their idea into practice.

Initially, a converted food processor was used to experiment with food waste from the Karcher production canteen. Scientific advice from composting experts from the Fraunhofer Institute and numerous experiments with subsequent prototypes have made it possible to systematically improve the proposed technical concept. At the same time, the needs of consumers were not overlooked: the necessary information was provided by numerous surveys of potential buyers and trading partners.


The KALEA composter combines the laws of biology with high technology in a unique way. With its advent, the laborious process of recycling organic waste is a thing of the past - kitchen waste simply turns into nutrient-rich compost. And this happens without smell, dirt and great effort.

The conversion process takes only 48 hours, during which time new waste can be added to the machine. Virtually any food waste is recycled, such as trimmings of vegetables or fruits, leftover meat and dairy products, as well as cooked meals. In this way, everything that is usually thrown into food waste containers turns into compost, which can be directly used to fertilize indoor, balcony and garden plants.

The new machine offers a unique combination of features and benefits that no other solution has. It is exceptionally easy to operate, consumes little energy and, thanks to its modern design, fits perfectly into the kitchen interior.

Did you know that...

Almost 50% of the waste generated in the world is organic waste, but their separate collection and processing is still not carried out in many countries, including European ones. And this is a serious problem: if not disposed of properly, such wastes have a greater impact on the climate than carbon dioxide.

When organic waste is dumped in landfills, as a result of incomplete decomposition caused by lack of oxygen, methane is formed, a gas with a powerful greenhouse effect. Over a hundred-year period, it is able to heat the Earth 28 times more than CO₂, and in 20 years it causes 80 times more environmental damage than carbon dioxide.

A sustainable alternative is the KALEA solution, which allows you to directly turn organic waste into harmless and, moreover, useful compost.

Processing of food waste into fertilizers, equipment for processing food waste

Processing of food waste

One of the main tasks set before humanity is to stop the pollution of the planet with various wastes. In Russia, the industry for the processing of food and other types of waste is poorly developed. Near each settlement, you can see a large accumulation of garbage, the volume of which is increasing daily.

Food waste is thrown away more often than other types of waste.

There are several ways to process food waste

Among them:

  • Landfill. Here, leftover food decomposes naturally. The process does not require additional costs, but the environment suffers from the landfill. There is a fetid smell near the object and rodents quickly start up. In fact, the landfill does not solve the problem of recycling food waste.
  • Bioprocessing. Food waste is composted until completely rotted or dried. Subsequently, they are used as a fertilizer in agriculture or as an alternative fuel. Used only for small volumes of waste.
  • Heat treatment or incineration. Waste is converted into heat, gas or electricity.

All software is sorted by type before heat treatment. After the procedure, a residue remains.

Sludge disposal methods:

  • Flotation . The mixture is saturated with air. The bubbles penetrate deep and cause the sediment to float. The duration of the process is from 2 to 8 hours. After that, alternative biofuels are obtained from the sediment.
  • Gravity disposal . The method is applicable when it is necessary to process small volumes of waste.
  • Air conditioning . It can be reactive or non-reactive. The first method allows to obtain solid flakes from PO, the second one involves heat treatment using high and low temperatures. Moisture is removed from the sludge before conditioning begins. As a result of the process, alternative biofuels are obtained.
  • Pyrolysis . A special method of waste disposal. The precipitate undergoes thermal treatment without access to oxygen. In this case, the gas evaporates, forming only a dry residue. As a result, food waste is processed into fuel sources.

Biofuel is actively used as a substitute for fuel wood, automotive fuel, gas. The FPP02 pyrolysis plant allows you to process food waste into gas, fertilizers, etc. Our company delivers and installs a food waste processing plant throughout Russia. Delivers products to other countries.

Composition of the plant

FPP02 consists of individual modules that can be delivered by truck and assembled directly on site. Preliminary capital construction of the facility for installation of the structure is not required.

The unit consists of:

  • Loading module.
  • Energy block.
  • Reactor.
  • Unloading module.
  • Intermediate block.
  • Condensing block.
  • Operator room.
  • Drying agent formation unit.
  • Guardrails and other auxiliary structures.

Additional equipment is also required for full operation (depending on the type of waste being processed and the location of the installation). It includes:

  • Compartment for the preparation and storage of raw materials.
  • Drying module.
  • Warehouse where liquid pyrolysis products will be stored.
  • Coal storage site.
  • Household and household premises.

Benefits of using a food waste recycling plant:

  • The equipment allows you to process different types of residues into biofuels.
  • Thanks to modular solutions, you can order turnkey delivery and installation from anywhere in Russia. After installation, the readiness of the installation for use is 100%.
  • Plants provide highly efficient processing. Are irreplaceable at the enterprises where waste accumulates.
  • Food waste recycling technology patented. The method provides a reduction in financial costs for the disposal of food waste, compared with other methods.

You can order delivery and installation of equipment for processing food waste and thus solve the problems of disposal by calling our company managers at 8 (800) 511-06-49, +7 (843) 267-60-81. If necessary, our experts will tell you in detail about the principles of operation of the installation.

Useful articles:

  • Rapid pyrolysis plant
  • Rapid Pyrolysis Technology
  • Waste Pyrolysis Equipment
  • Processing of wood chips, sawdust

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