The Future Of Composting
By separating home yard wastes and turning them into compost, it is estimated that municipalities can reduce the amount of trash going to landfills by about 20%. While that is a significant reduction, it is expected that even more trash will have to be diverted from landfills in the future. Materials such as soiled food packaging, disposable diaper padding, food scraps, natural fiber rags, pieces of wood, and other organic materials could all be composted. To do this, municipalities may have to establish municipal solid waste (MSW) treatment facilities to separate the compostible materials from the harmful materials, such as discarded batteries, motor oil, asbestos, and many household chemicals.
Eventually composting may also provide a means for handling and neutralizing even the harmful materials. For example, at several older military ammunition factories and storage facilities the surrounding soil is contaminated with the explosive material trinitrotoluene, also known as TNT. Researchers are using a specially formulated compost mix of vegetable wastes and buffalo manure to neutralize the soil through a simple biological composting process that converts the explosive organic components of TNT into less harmful compounds.