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Usually Plastic comes to everybody’s mind when they hear the word “Recycling”, but there are other forms of waste which can be and supposed to be recycled apart from Plastic waste, that contribute a major part in Global Warming.
Some of the major substances which can be Recycled are Agricultural Waste, Metal Waste, Electronic Devices, Wood Waste, Paper Waste, and the list goes on.
People do not take Agricultural Waste as a major issue but it contributes around 20- 24%(according to the survey) of Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Recycling of Agricultural Waste plays an important role in climate change. Proper usage of Agricultural Waste can bring a drastic change in the Ecosystem and can be a boon to the Farmer’s.
Agricultural waste recycling is a growing business, as more and more farms and companies turn to alternate ways to process waste products instead of sending them to landfill. With green waste becoming increasingly recycled in homes around the world, agriculture is also turning to recycling methods in order to reduce the amount of waste it has to pay to get rid of.
Agricultural wastes can be defined as the residues from the growing and first processing of raw agricultural products such as fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, dairy products and crops. Agricultural wastes can be in the form of solid, liquid or slurries depending on the nature of agricultural activities. Agricultural industry residues and wastes constitute a significant proportion of worldwide agricultural productivity.
Although the quantity of wastes produced by the agricultural sector is significantly low compared to wastes generated by other industries, the pollution potential of agricultural wastes is high on a long-term basis. The opportunity and feasibility for recycling these wastes comes from two directions: the care for environment reflected by new sets of rules and regulation and the potential to add value to these wastes by adding positive elements.
Organic waste can constitute as much as 70% of the total waste stream. Selected organic waste can either be reduced or transformed into organically beneficial products through the application of new and innovative approaches and technology for the reuse of these resources for energy, organic fertilizers, and animal feed. This will ultimately create new methods for improving the quality of life of the people.
How to Recycle Agricultural Waste
Recycling means more than separating trash into two containers at the curb. In principle, whatever we discard can become a resource instead of a waste.
It has been estimated that organic resources available in the country alone can produce not less than 20 million tons of plant nutrients (NPK). Vermicompost technology has promising potential to meet the organic manure requirement in both irrigated and rainfed areas. It has tremendous prospects in converting agro-wastes and city garbage into valuable agricultural input. Thus various economic uses can be obtained from organic wastes and garbage and prevent pollution. From vermiculture, we get well decomposed worm casts, which can be used as manure for crops, vegetables, flowers, gardens, etc. In this process, earthworms also get multiplied and the excess worms can be converted into vermiprotein which can be utilized as feed for poultry, fish, etc. Vermi-wash can also be used as spray on crops.
One kilogram of worms numbering about 600 to 1000 can convert 25 to 45kg of wet waste per week. The compost recovery would be around 25 kg per week under well managed conditions. The total decomposition may take about 75 – 100 days depending on various factors. Therefore one tank may be used to 4 to 5 times in a year for vermicompost. A few days before the harvest watering of the tank are discontinued to allow migration of worms towards the bottom of the bed. The compost is then transferred outside without disturbing the bed and heaped on a plain open surface. The compost is sieved through a 3 mm mesh and then packed in gunnies. About 1700 kg of compost can be obtained from each cycle. While sieving, the unhatched cocoons can also be retrieved. The excess worms can be retrieved and put in new tanks or sold or can be sun-dried to make vermin-protein. The cost of vermin-protein can be taken @ Rs. 5/kg. The compost should be sun-dried and then bagged for sale / use.
Methods of waste treatment by Earthworms
1. Solid waste materials may be spread out over the soil surface, usually on pastures. But sometimes on crops or in forests. To be incorporated directly into the soil – earthworms are important contributors to the burial and decomposition of the waste materials.
2. Wastes may be stacked into heaps or placed in bins, where they are treated like compost heaps-earthworm activity results in the production of large quantities of earthworm casts, which are widely sold as manure.
Composting is a technique used to accelerate the natural decay process. Done under the proper aerobic conditions, the thermal composting technique converts organic wastes to rich black gold that is biologically active and naturally fertilizes and condition the soil. Leaf waste decomposes naturally in about two years.
Most yard wastes can be composted, including leaves, grass clippings, plant stalks, vines, weeds, twigs and branches. Compostable food wastes include fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells and nutshells. Other compostable materials are hair clippings, feathers, straw, livestock manure, bone meal and blood meal.
SAMPLE INSTRUCTIONS FOR FAST COMPOSTING :
- Shredded leaves (about 2/3 by volume)
- Fresh grass clippings (about 1/3 by volume, or slightly more for faster decomposition)
- Kitchen scraps
Begin the pile with a 4" layer of leaves. Add a 2" layer of grass clippings. Repeat the layers until the pile is about 4' high, and then add the kitchen scraps.
Chop vertically through the pile with the tines of a pitchfork to thoroughly bruise and mix the materials. Add just enough water to moisten the pile. Using the same chopping technique, turn the pile on the second day after the pile is built (or when it hits 150F), again on the fourth day (or 150F), then every three days until the compost is finished. Except in dry weather, no further watering should be necessary. The compost should be finished in about two weeks.