Since 2008, the Spanish Composting Network (REC) organizes its conferences every two years, which represent a point of meeting and debate for the different agents interested in all aspects related to the management of organic waste, with which it is planned to help capitalize on the Spanish research potential in this area and promote the transfer of results to all sectors.
These VII Conferences carried as a common thread the relationship between composting and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To cite just a few examples, community composting, which recovers part of the organic waste generated by populations, meets one of the objectives of SDG 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, also composting and reusing, moving from waste to resource. , is closely linked to SDG 12, Sustainable production and consumption.
The conferences were a complete success since they had 110 registrants from different regions: university, research centers and companies in the sector. This different origin enriched the meeting with a great exchange of experiences.
82 articles reviewed by the scientific committee were presented, which ensured their rigor and quality. 32 articles were selected to be presented in the form of oral presentations and 50 in the form of posters. This work was organized into three thematic sessions, the first of which was devoted to biotechnological innovations with responses to new challenges and opportunities in the search for the highest possible recovery of organic waste. The second session, which collected the largest number of works, was entitled Processes and quality of compost. The work that has integrated it has focused on the different aspects of the composting process and the quality of the products obtained. Processes and techniques have been revealed to improve composting processes, as well as analytical methodologies that facilitate monitoring and control. In the third session entitled Applications of compost, the works related to the use and valorization of the products obtained by the composting process were presented. Finally, a round table was organized with the participation of representatives of the administration of the Junta de Castilla y León and composting companies from Salamanca who shared their experience with the scientific community.
Although in recent decades many advances have been made in the study and characterization of organic by-products, in the different recycling/reuse processes and in the subsequent uses of the products obtained, we still have great challenges, because we are far from achieving the sustainable development goals that we have set ourselves. There are still residues to study, processes to improve and/or discover, uses to experiment with.
High quality works were presented, from the most classic or canonical to the most innovative, reviewing all the aspects related to composting and other methods of valorization of organic co-products in presentations with a more transversal theme.
In these days The biological component of compost has been examined as a source of biofertilizers, biostimulants, plant pathogen controllers, and as a source of plastic-degrading microorganisms. In addition to the use of compost as a soil amendment and for crop fertilization, the action of inducing resistance to water stress has been valued. On the other hand, the uses of compost and biochar as adsorbents for dyes and herbicides have been revealed. As innovations, the production of volatile fatty acids from digestion and/or aerobic fermentation and the capture of ammonia from farms by means of membranes have also been considered. Throughout the Conference, the importance of composting in the circular economy of companies and populations and the importance of composting in fixing C in soils became clear.
The next Conference will take place in Cordoba in 2024.