Composting and fermentation of organic waste are important waste recovery methods and their importance is steadily increasing.
Around 1.2 million tonnes of organic waste are recycled annually throughout Switzerland in 368 composting and fermentation plants, where they are turned into compost and digestate. Compost is understood to be decomposed plant, animal or microbial material with air (aerobic), while digestate is a common term for fermented organic material without air (anaerobic). Both compost and digestate count as organic recycled manure and are used in agriculture as soil ameliorants, erosion protection agents and in re-vegetation.
The composting and fermentation of organic waste is very important ecologically and economically and is an important component of waste recycling in Switzerland. The final products, however, may contain pollutants that should not get into the soil and are therefore undesirable. That includes, for example, heavy metals in organic recycled manure. These problems and their effects on environment, soil fertility, soil organisms and on pIant health have been investigated in studies. The results show that a large part of the compost and digestate in Switzerland is of good to very good quality.
In order to prevent undesirable pollutants from recycled products affecting the environment, the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) together with the Federal Office for Environment, other official bodies and the green waste industry have drawn up a list of starting materials suitable for fermentation and composting. Special emphasis is put on the qualities of the compost, which are largely fixed by the instructions and recommendation of the Federal Research Institute for Agricultural Chemistry and Environmental Hygiene and the quality guide-lines of the industry.
Kompost und Gärgut in der Schweiz2007 (in German and French)
Düngung und Umwelt2006 (in German and French)
Last modification 27.06.2019