Bulking Agent’s Role on Food-Waste Composting

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Bulking Agent’s Role on Food-Waste Composting

In the food-waste composting world, the bulking agent (wood chips/mulch) is a key element to keep the composting pile go round. Its role is critical as it creates a structure with the necessary air pockets that will permit air to go through your composting pile, and bacteria to keep their job of composting.

The addition of bulking agent (wood-chips/mulch) easily converts the composting process from anaerobic (sans air) to aerobic (the air bacteria need to compost food quickly). Mixed with the food waste in suggested proportions, bulking agents help reduce the putrefying odors related to composting food-waste.

A good bulking agent consists of hardwood chips in various sizes, that will create that ‘air space structure’ mentioned above and provide the necessary carbon to balance out the high nitrogen content of food-waste. The right wood-chips/mulch will also help to balance the high moisture content of food-waste together with shredded paper in the case of HOTBIN. Using the right proportions as suggested will create the ‘needed balance.’

At HOTBIN Composting USA, we do not provide a bulking agent with the hot composting bin due to transport regulations. We understand that finding a bulking agent with all the desirable characteristics isn’t always the easiest thing. However, we try to provide customers with guidelines that will allow them to locally purchase (Home Depot, Ace, Loews, etc.) an inexpensive and reliable agent.

Our recommendations include a good mix of hardwood woodchips/mulch in different nugget sizes to keep your waste aerated and ensure the bacteria get the oxygen they require for fast and efficient hot composting.

Here are some tips that will help you to achieve a happy composting operation:

  • Keep a ready supply of bulking agent on hand and adjacent to your composting operation.
  • HOTBIN users: Always add to each composting pile following established guidelines (1/5).
  • To discourage bugs and prevent nuisance odors: Always Add a ‘thin’ layer of bulking agent (keep an eye on HOTBIN proportions).
  • Select your bulking agent carefully. Your bulking agent should supply a nice combination of air space and available carbon.  A mulch-y consistency is good.
  • Keep your bulking agent nice and dry. Store your bulking agent under cover in rainy/winter conditions.

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