Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: May 04, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412973816 | Print ISBN: 9781412996822 | Online ISBN: 9781412973816| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Rafael D'Almeida Martins
In recent years, our society has developed a hierarchy of waste management. At the top of the hierarchy of integrated waste management, and the most desirable form, is source reduction. This includes the reduction of waste generated through reuse of materials and using reduced levels of packing. The second tier is recycling, including composting. Com posting is the aerobic decomposition of organic matter into soil conditioner, and is considered the highest level of recycling. Com posting occurs when an organic discarded material can be used to improve soil conditions and plant growth, and reduce the potential of erosion, runoff, and nonsource pollution. A considerable portion of domestic waste is open to composting, such as, for instance, yard waste and biosolids that are organic and easily composted, according to E. Epstein. Composting has predominantly been used in horticulture and agriculture to improve soil conditions and enhance plant growth, although its utilization ...