Development of organic fertilizers from food market waste and urban gardening by composting in Ecuador
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Currently, the management of urban waste streams in developing countries is not optimized yet, and in many cases these wastes are disposed untreated in open dumps. This fact causes serious environmental and health problems due to the presence of contaminants and pathogens. Frequently, the use of specific low-cost strategies reduces the total amount of wastes. These strategies are mainly associated to the identification, separate collection and composting of specific organic waste streams, such as vegetable and fruit refuses from food markets and urban gardening activities. Concretely, in the Chimborazo Region (Ecuador), more than 80% of municipal solid waste is dumped into environment due to the lack of an efficient waste management strategy. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop a demonstration project at field scale in this region to evaluate the feasibility of implanting the composting technology not only for the management of the organic waste fluxes from food market and gardening activities to be scaled-up in other developing regions, but also to obtain an end-product with a commercial value as organic fertilizer. Three co-composting mixtures were prepared using market wastes mixed with pruning of trees and ornamental palms as bulking agents. Two piles were created using different proportions of market waste and prunings of trees and ornamental palms: pile 1 (50:33:17) with a C/N ratio 25; pile 2: (60:30:10) with C/N ratio 24 and pile 3 (75:0:25) with C/N ratio 33), prepared with market waste and prunings of ornamental palm. Throughout the process, the temperature of the mixtures was monitored and organic matter evolution was determined using thermogravimetric and chemical techniques. Additionally, physico-chemical, chemical and agronomic parameters were determined to evaluate compost quality. The results obtained indicated that all the piles showed a suitable development of the composting process, with a significant organic matter decomposition, reached in a shorter period of time in pile 3. At the end of the process, all the composts showed absence of phytotoxicity and suitable agronomic properties for their use as organic fertilizers. This reflects the viability of the proposed alternative to be scaled-up in developing areas, not only to manage and recycle urban waste fluxes, but also to obtain organic fertilizers, including added value in economic terms related to nutrient contents.
CitationJara-Samaniego, J., Pérez, M.D, Bustamante, M.A., Lopez, M. Development of organic fertilizers from food market waste and urban gardening by composting in Ecuador. "PLoS one", 20 Juliol 2017, vol. 12, núm. 7, p. 1-17.