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Biological transformation of biodegradable waste

into water, carbon dioxide, energy and a composed matter Helps to reduce the volume of waste destined for landfill or incineration Composting product that can be used for soil amendment, improve soil nutrients, reduces erosion and help suppress plant diseases

Organic fraction of most MSW can be considered to

be composed of protein, amino acids, lipids, carbohydrate, cellulose, lignin and ash These organic material undergoes aerobic microbial decomposition and produce a humus material known as compost

Objective of composting To transform the biodegrability organic materials into a biologically stable material, and in the process reduce the original volume of waste To destroy pathogens, insect eggs, and other unwanted organisms and weed seeds that may be present in MSW To retain the maximum nutrient (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) content To produce a product that can be used to support plant growth and as a soil amendment

A brown to very dark brown color
A low carbon-nitrogen ratio A continually changing nature due to the activities of

microorganisms A high capacity for cation exchange and water absorption


Pre-processing of MSW

Decomposition of the organic fraction of the MSW

Preparation and marketing of the final product

Pre-processing of MSW
Receiving MSW
Removal of recoverable material Size reduction

Adjustment of the waste properties such as carbon-

nitrogen ratio, addition of moisture and nutrients Degree of preprocessing depends on the specific composting process employed and the specification for the final compost product

Decomposition of the organic fraction of the MSW

Windrow Prepared MSW is placed in windrows in an open field Windrows are turned once or twice per week for composting period of 4 to 5 weeks Biodegradable portion of the organic fraction of MSW is decomposed by a variety of microorganisms, which utilize the organic matter as a carbon (food source)
Static pile In-vessel composting

Preparation and marketing of the final product

Fine grinding
Screening Air classification

Blending with various additive

Granulation Bagging


Facility design
Process variables

Particle size smaller particle size is encouraged to increase surface area for microbial activity. But if too small will reduce void size and oxygen viability for aerobic condition. Ideal size 1.25 7.5 cm Particle size distribution of the material to be composted Seeding and mixing requirements Required mixing/turning schedule Total oxygen requirement Moisture content required by microorganisms to assimilate nutrients and increase colony size. 40 65% Temperature and pH control Carbon-nitrogen ratio of the waste to be composted Respiratory quotient (RQ) Control of pathogen

Facility design
Factors to consider in designing of composting


Types of waste System selected Environmental issues Cost of implementation

Agitated method Material to be composted is agitated periodically

oxygen to control the temperature to mix the material the material to obtain a more uniform product

Static method Compost piles are laid (remain static) on perforated pipes The air is blown through the composting material Covered by a layer of screened compost for insulation and odor control

Windrow composting
Oldest method
Constructed by forming the organic material to be

composted into windrows 8 to 10 ft high by 20 to 25 feet wide at the base Organic material is processed by shredding and screening it to approximately 1 to 3 in Moisture content is adjusted to 50 to 60 % High rate systems are turned up to twice per week Temperature is maintained at or slightly above 55C

Windrow composting
Turning of the windrow is often accompanied by the

release of offensive odors Accomplished in 3 to 4 weeks The compost is allowed to cure for another 3 to 4 weeks without turning Residual decomposable organic materials are reduced by fungi

Aerated Static Pile Composting

Also known as Beltsville or ARS process
Developed for aerobic composting of wastewater

sludge Compost a wide variety of organic waste including yard waste or separated MSW Material is composted for 3 to 4 weeks Then it is cured for 4 weeks and longer To improve quality cured compost are shred and screen

Aerated Static Pile Composting

To improve process and odor control all or

significant portion of the system in newer facilities are covered or enclosed

In vessel Composting System

Accomplished inside an enclosed container or vessel
Plug flow Relationship between particles in the composting mass stays the same First in first-out principle Dynamic system Composting material is mixed mechanically during the process

In vessel Composting System

Mechanical system are designed to minimize odors

and process time by controlling environmental conditions such as air flow, temperature and oxygen concentration Advantageous

Process and odor control Faster throughput Lower labor cost Smaller area requirements

Yard waste Grass, leaves, small trees branches Organic fraction of MSW Food waste, thin plastic, papers
Partially processed commingled MSW Waste which are not separated before arriving at the processing site

Co-composting of the organic fraction of MSW with

wastewater sludge