Dr. Elaine Ingham - Compost

Dr. Elaine Ingham discusses the Science of Compost

YouTube Video

Composting at Home: Two Easy Methods founders show two easy how-to composting methods and discuss environmental benefits of keeping food waste out of landfills. Learn more at

Human Urine for Compost

Urine adds Nitrogen and Water to your compost. Easy. Free (actually it SAVES money by avoiding wasteful flushing of your toilet). Clean (human urine is sterile, unless you have a UTI (urinary tract infection, during which you should probably flush it down your toilet). Think of the millions of gallons of water that cities could save if citizens avoided the wasteful flushing. Meanwhile, it helps microoranisms make compost into great soil. My motto: "Urine may look YELLOW, but it's environmentally GREEN!"

Toxins in Compost

Composting is a classic example of working with nature. When designing compost piles, we are mimicking the natural process of decomposition. We design compost to increase in speed of decomposition, life and diversity beyond the natural process. 

Compost is a vital part of nutrient cycling for sustainable food production. In this video Geoff discusses small amounts of toxins being included in compost processes.
How much do we need to worry about whether our compost ingredients have been in contact with pesticides? What about kitchen scraps from conventional growers?


There is a good article in Wikipedia about compost.  This is an extract:

With the proper mixture of water, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen, micro-organisms are allowed to break down organic matter to produce compost.

 The composting process is dependant on micro-organisms to break down organic matter into compost. There are many types of microorganisms found in active compost of which the most common are:

  • Actinomycetes- Necessary for breaking down paper products such as newspaper, bark, etc.

  • FungiMolds and yeast help break down materials that bacteria cannot, especially lignin in woody material.

  • Protozoa- Help consume bacteria, fungi and micro organic particulates.

  • Rotifers- Rotifers help control populations of bacteria and small protozoans.

In addition, earthworms not only ingest partly-composted material, but also continually re-create aeration and drainage tunnels as they move through the compost.

A lack of a healthy micro-organism community is the main reason why composting processes are slow in landfills with environmental factors such as lack of oxygen, nutrients or water being the cause of the depleted biological community.