Food waste is a substantial part of municipal solid waste. The average American is throwing way more than 38 million tons of food per year, and most of it is not reused. Composting provides an environmental technology to reuse food waste, turning it into valuable fertilizer-rich soil.
This study highlights how zeolite used in composting helps reduce the loss of nutrients and eliminates odor at the same time. Struite composting is a technique in composting that is used to eliminate nitrogen loss. When you compost food waste, intense acidification becomes a problem, which is commonly fixed with alkaline materials, for example, a lime. However what is actually happening when using these methods, is 50% of initial nitrogen is lost as ammonia and reduces nutritional value for organic fertilizer (Xuan 2015).
What scientists are finding is that nitrogen loss can be reduced up to 18% through the addition of zeolite in the struvite composting process.
Chan, M. T., Selvam, A., & Wong, J. W. C. (2016). Reducing nitrogen loss and salinity during ‘struvite’ food waste composting by zeolite amendment. Bioresource Technology, 200, 838–844. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2015.10.093
How Much Food is Wasted in America? (2017, September 18). Retrieved November 9, 2018, from https://foodforward.org/2017/09/how-much-food-is-wasted-in-america/
Wang, X. (n.d.). Nitrogen conservation by struvite formation during the composting process with food wastes, 258. https://repository.hkbu.edu.hk/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1200&context=etd_oa