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News

Home composting could cut down greenhouse gas - Microbiology Today: May 2005 issue

Society For General Microbiology : 05 May, 2005  (Company News)
Composting household organic waste not only reduces landfill disposal, but could also help to cut greenhouse gases according to an article in the May 2005 issue of Microbiology Today, the quarterly magazine of the Society for General Microbiology. The UK currently dumps about 85% of its domestic waste straight into landfill and much of this is biodegradable. Anaerobic microbial decomposition of organic waste in landfills generates methane, a principal greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
Composting household organic waste not only reduces landfill disposal, but could also help to cut greenhouse gases according to an article in the May 2005 issue of Microbiology Today, the quarterly magazine of the Society for General Microbiology.

The UK currently dumps about 85% of its domestic waste straight into landfill and much of this is biodegradable. Anaerobic microbial decomposition of organic waste in landfills generates methane, a principal greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

Dr Stephen Smith, from Imperial College London, has carried out the first detailed study to measure the amount of household waste composted by homeowners.

'Over a year, each household composted 400 kg of organic waste,' says Dr Smith. 'And gas measurements showed that home composting did not produce methane.'

Reducing methane emissions from municipal dumps is a key objective of the EU Landfill Directive.

'Other benefits from home composting include reduced waste collection costs and increased awareness of waste disposal and recycling issues,' explains Dr Smith. 'Home composting is a unique waste management practice in that it provides the opportunity for the people producing the waste to be the processor and the end-user of the recycled product.'

Using home-composted wastes also reduces the demand for peat-based soil conditioning products, so helps to conserve sensitive lowland peat areas.

Britain is a nation of gardeners, but do they know all that is going on invisibly in their back yards? This issue of Microbiology Today focuses on microbes in the garden. Pick up a free copy of the magazine at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2005 from the Society's stand in the Floral Marquee.
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