Can I Mix Composted Food Waste with Composted Yard Waste?

by Gareth
(South Africa)

Can you please give some insight into using composted food waste and then reselling it with composted garden waste. We supply the Bokashi bins to households & coffee shops and want to sell A+ premium grade compost as well (i.e. 60% Garden waste; 30% Food waste & 10% Worm castings). There has been a lot of talk of food waste mixed as above not being able to be used in garden compost for vegetables? What is your take on this?

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Feb 25, 2012
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A Compost Junkie at Heart...I Knew It!
by: Dave

I sent a quick email to Gareth before posting this to ask for some clarification and he added this to his original question...

"Correct the food waste & garden waste are both composted then mixed together. We are planning on selling this product in 25L plastic bins with sealed lid. We have only been developing this product this year so still early days...we planning on calling it ‘biohumus’ – your thoughts?

Attached is the branding/marketing stickers for the black bins...this is a first of its kind when it comes to a premium compost product like this in South Africa other than the worm casting products.

Dave, any advice from you would be much appreciated – your tribe & website rock, ok, I’m a compost junkie"


soil food web



This is super exciting. I look forward to following your business development. Other than answering these questions, please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you guys.

Re your initial question about mixing two different composted materials - I see no problem with this. It is common practice around the world to use composted food wastes to amend soils that will later be planted with more veggies.

Do your best to mix these different composts together long before packaging them into your buckets. This will allow the different sets of microorganisms to hold their town hall meetings, work out their differences, and then reach a point of homeostasis (i.e. the compost will be more stable).

I've got some concerns about a sealed lid on a living product. Will there be any air movement (e.g. holes in the lid)? If not, the customer who opens it months after purchasing from you, might be in for a surprise (i.e. a horrible odor and a potential slurry of moist humus). Have you tested this out already? Have you sealed a container for many months and then opened it? If not, I highly recommend doing that before launching.

I really like your logo. There is something really eye-catching about a yellow sticker on a black bucket (similar to the colors on this site).

Have you had your finished compost product tested by a soil lab? I highly recommend it, so you have data to back up your claims. Be sure to take samples from several different batches, inevitably, they won't all come out the same.

Please keep us updated on your businesses progress. Maybe we'll have to do a podcast in the not to distant future...

Feb 26, 2012
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Class A+ Biohumus Compost
by: Gardener Ed

Are these materials hot composted to reduce weed seeds and pathogens? Also are the materials used for the vermicompost from non garbage sources to reduce the possibility of introducing weed seeds and pathogens?

Allowing the finished product to "age" probably helps make a safer product, but paying attention to the questions above would make it more so.

Bacterial fungal spores are quite resistant as are nematode eggs and protozoan cysts.

Is there really much humus in the finished product?


Feb 26, 2012
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Hi Ed
by: Gareth

To answer your questions: yes hot composted method (60-70 degrees) then turned. The vermicompost comes from household waste but added to new heated compost piles with fermented bokashi household waste. We are using a 12 week cycle to complete the composting process. Aiming for a 30% moisture level in the finished product. Please note the food waste from the bokashi bins is also shredded before added (in the middle at the bottom of each pile) to the new compost piles - probably a 5% humus content in the finished product.

Feb 26, 2012
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Where in South Africa?
by: Dave

Hey Gareth, someone on Twitter asked where you're located in South Africa. Do you mind sharing? Thanks.

Feb 26, 2012
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Black Gold in SA!
by: Gareth

Hey Dave

We are on the East Coast - Shelly Beach: 120km South of Durban. Will have Twitter page up and running soon..

Feb 26, 2012
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Philly Compost
by: Dave

Hey Gareth,

I was just finding compost for someone in the Philadelphia area and came across this company - Philly Compost. You may want to get in touch with them about your business. They appear to be doing something very similar, right down to the packaging of compost into buckets.

d

Feb 27, 2012
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Philly Compost
by: Gareth

Magic stuff - exactly what we are aiming at doing!! Sending them some questions at the moment. Any luck with that thermometer & moisture measurement device?

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