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Title: Composted green material and its use in growing media
Author: Surrage, Victoria
ISNI:       0000 0001 3491 3615
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2007
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The initial focus of this research was to establish various trends in green waste production for example variation in source and treatment of green waste. A comprehensive overview of the current green waste cycle was undertaken via a questionnaire titled 'Management of Green Waste'. From the producers of composted green material identified in the survey, fifteen sources agreed to participate within a study reviewing best practise leading to the production of material suitable for inclusion in growing media. Due to increasing external pressures, the use of composted green waste as a potential alternative or diluent in growing media is being considered. If composted green material was to be used in the retail and professional markets, storage is of paramount importance. However very little information is available on the effects of storage on composted green material. Therefore the next step in this research was to conduct growth/storage trials using varying percentages of composted green material mixed with peat. The mixtures used in the trial were split, half of the material was stored in a 10˚C constant temperature room, and the other half was stored in green house conditions. From the results gained in the peat-reduced growth and storage trials it was evident that some composted green materials could be a good diluent materials for peat based growing media if the feed stock and production method were monitored. Parameters such as the bulk density and conductivity may be an issue if this material was to be used as the sole component, however by the addition of other material for example bark, these materials could act as a diluents for these parameters enabling a higher inclusion rate of composted green material. In view of demand for peat free growing media, allied to the production of composted green material, the next step in this research was to conduct a peat free growth and storage trial, using material such as bark that could eliminate some of the issues such as bulk density associated with the use of composted green material. From the twelve month growth/storage trial, one sample was identified and used in a peat-free trial. Mixtures were prepared at 0, 10, 20, 25, 30, 40, and 50% by volume other alternative materials to peat i.e. composted pine bark, composted bark, and wood waste i.e. chipboard soaked in urea formaldehyde. By comparing the peat-reduced and the peat-free mixtures containing composted green material, the peat-free mixtures appear to be a superior product compared to the peat-reduced mixtures. By the addition of composted bark, composted pine bark and wood waste in varying quantity combined with the composted green material, the average values taken from the six month trial indicated that; the bulk density was reduced which would have a large implication on transportation cost, the organic matter content was increased with the corresponding decrease in ash content, improving the structure of the material and the cation-exchange capacity. The concentrations of nitrate-nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, all increased which in turn increased the electrical conductivity: this could reduce the need for the addition of fertilisers, reducing production costs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available