COMPOSTING GREEN WASTE WITH ZEOLITE
Improved composting of green waste with zeolite by breaking down naturally bound nitrogen into usable plant nutrients. Zeolite can help you get usable compost quicker, with higher nitrogen retention and less odor.
Composting is a process that converts organically bound nitrogen to ammonium nitrate and ammonia, both of which are plant-accessible nutrients. It also kills pathogens, dries manure, and kills weed seeds. Ultimately, the goal is to produce high-quality compost that can be used as a bio-based soil amendment (Olds College, 2004).
Methane and nitrous oxide are two greenhouse gases produced during the composting process (Olds College, 2004). Scientists have concluded that both gases are more potent than carbon dioxide. Aluminum silicates (such as zeolite) can sequester nitrates, sulphates, and hydrogen ions, which can prevent methane and nitrous oxide production during the composting process; studies have demonstrated that aluminum silicates can reduce emissions by 20 percent (Olds College, 2004).
Natural zeolite provides value to the composting processes because of its ability to absorb water and adsorb plant- available nitrogen through cation exchange. Also, zeolite prevents soil compaction and works to increase infiltration, both of which promote soil aeration. This benefit is made possible by the mineral’s high surface area and porosity.
A study by Zhang and Sun (2015) examined the effects of an earthworm cast and zeolite mixture on the composting of green waste. The results indicated that the mix improved the quality of the compost products in regards to nitrification, enzyme activities, and microbial numbers. Also, the compost matured in only 21 days as opposed to the common 90 – 270 day time period required of traditional composting (Zhang & Sun, 2015).