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April 24, 2007

Composting Question

When someone saves their scraps etc to make compost.

Does it emit methane?

Or is it only anaerobic composting (like at the bottom of landfill) that creates methane?

I ask to find out whether landfilling would actually be sensible: for at least there we can collect the methane and turn it into CO2, some 30 times less dangerous as a greenhouse gas.

So, anyone know the gases given off by composting?

April 24, 2007 in Environmentalism | Permalink

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Comments

I hunted around and couldn't find any source that separate landfill (evil) from composting (good).
At GISS ICP there is a break down of sources of methane:
http://icp.giss.nasa.gov/education/methane/intro/cycle.html

From these results we should convince the Chinese to eat chips not rice and drain all wetlands.

Posted by: Kit | Apr 24, 2007 1:00:17 PM

It appears that CH4 is only created by anaerobic landfill and not proper composting.

Posted by: Mark Wadsworth | Apr 24, 2007 1:15:12 PM

But composting will release CO2.

Posted by: David Gillies | Apr 24, 2007 3:47:52 PM

Or give the scraps to your eco-goat.

Oh no, sorry. Goats fart a lot don't they.

Posted by: The Remittance Man | Apr 24, 2007 8:55:18 PM

This won't answer your question but I know there are some projects to sequester methane from anaerobic digestion for use in CHP plants and you also get a nice fertiliser.

www.foe.co.uk/resource/action_guides/food_waste.doc

Tim adds: That was really rather the purpose of the question. Would it be better to do this rather than composting?

Posted by: magnusw | Apr 24, 2007 10:14:51 PM

So I guess the answer to the problem is somewhere in between. Centralised collection is less harmful and more useful provided you have the facilities to deal with it.

In other bio-energy news....
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_west/6582995.stm

Posted by: magnusw | Apr 24, 2007 10:26:54 PM

Shorter Tim: If it wasn't for those bloody Hampstead greenies, I could run my aircon all night in the fabulous Algarve guilt-free.

Tim adds: No air-con (windows and a veranda) no central heating (wood fire from our own trees). Anything else?

Posted by: Alex | Apr 25, 2007 9:32:18 AM