BioBags help improve soil health

 In Composting

BioBags increase diversion of food waste from landfill to organics recycling. This creates more compost to enrich soils with the vital nutrients needed to produce more food.

We know soil needs certain nutrients to be fertile, but did you know soil is a finite resource?

Projections say the amount of arable land per earth inhabitant will be halved by 2050 due to factors including erosion, deforestation and development1.

It takes 2,000 years to create 10cm of fertile soil.

The highest value for organic matter is to recycle it into compost to nourish our soils.

Australian Organics Recycling Association Chair Peter Wadewitz is the Managing Director of Peats Soil & Garden Supplies in Adelaide. Peter’s been commercially processing compost for over 40 years.

Peter says sustainable agriculture needs 2 to 4 percent carbon in soil, but there’s only 0.5 to 1 percent carbon in some Australian farming areas 2.

“The composting process makes it so carbon will stay a long time in the soil… Some of the compost we’re producing now will last 25, 50, 100 years in soil,” Mr Wadewitz said.

Each year an estimated 28 percent of food produced is wasted3. This means the natural resources used for growing, processing, packaging, transporting and marketing the food are also wasted and greenhouse gas emissions are increased for no value.

It’s estimated 33 percent of the world’s soil is severely degraded and food waste converted to compost is a solution to this problem3.

Compost is so important because it enhances overall soil health and improves soil’s resilience to shocks such as drought. The many advantages of recycling food waste into compost include:

  • Improving soil conditions:
    • reducing erosion, increasing moisture retention, regulating soil temperature, reducing water evaporation and regulating soil moisture.
  • Maintaining biodiversity:
    • microorganisms and macrofauna such as earthworms lead to less cropping risks, higher yields and lower dependence on inorganic fertilisers, supplemental water and pesticides.
  • Strengthening and replenishing soil:
    • allows water to enter soil more easily so it can resist erosion by wind and water.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from food rotting in landfill:
    • affects climate change that leads to severe weather conditions affecting soils.
  • Improving income and productivity for farmers.

The term increasingly used for this type of recycling process is the ‘circular economy’. Historically, our linear economy extracts natural resources, creates goods from them, uses those goods, then disposes of them by burying them in landfill.

The circular economy is about recycling to recover valuable resources instead of wasting them.

Sources:

1 GlobalSoilWeek.org https://youtu.be/y2bBimj0dFU

2 ABC Landline interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0CzQD917r4&t=274s

3 Australasian Bioplastic Association’s ‘Towards a Circular Economy, Bioplastics, Food Waste and Agriculture’ https://www.bioplastics.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/SPE-Plastics-and-Waste-Conference_ABA_R-A-Williams_20161117-website-.pdf

Sources for infographic:

https://www.eastwaste.com.au/green-organics-recycling/

https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/You-and-Your-Home/Waste-and-recycling/Food-and-garden-waste/Garden-waste

https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/waste/minimisation/composting.html

 

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