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Composting a literature study 1989

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Title: Composting a literature study 1989
Author: M. M. Dillon Limited; Cal Recovery Systems Incorporated
Abstract: Composting is a process used since antiquity to convert organic waste materials, both vegetable and animal, to a rich, humus-like soil amendment used in agriculture. Composting is an aerobic decomposition process in which organic matter is naturally oxidized to simple chemical compounds with the accompanying release of heat, water vapour, and carbon dioxide. The heat release also causes the destruction of harmful pathogens and weed seeds in the compost. Successful composting depends primarily on adequate temperature and moisture control, oxygen supply and nutrients to feed the microbial populations. Potential raw materials for composting include the compostable fraction of municipal solid waste, yard, garden and grass leaf wastes, agricultural crop residues and animal manures, food processing wastes, forest products and paper production wastes and other biodegradable wastes from industry and other sectors of society. The primary objective of composting is to recover and recycle a valuable resource in an economic and environmentally acceptable manner. The literature has been surveyed to provide this state-of-the-art report on composting science, operational practices and compost production systems around the world. The report provides definitions of key terminology and nomenclature and a description of generic composting technologies. The process technologies are grouped in four categories: turned windrow, static pile, in-vessel and finally, hybrid systems which contain combinations of the first three. This section is followed by a description of generic operating and control parameters in compost production. A discussion of solid waste collection systems and waste storage is followed by a discussion of the advantages of household source separation and collection procedures such as the wet/dry system and the separate collection of yard and garden wastes, food wastes and co-composting. The advantages of both pre-collection separation and post-collection separation are examined. Means of post-collection separation of components in the solid waste stream are discussed including screening, air classification, and size reduction. The section on home composting describes the biological principles involved such as the lower volumetric limit for effective pathogenic kill, odour control, aeration and environmental constraints to avoid nuisance complaints. The economics of composting are discussed and comparative cost information on selected North American compost facilities is provided. Marketing of the compost is a factor limiting widespread utilization of this waste reduction process. Data on North American and international composts, their chemistry, typical uses and typical markets are listed. Many approaches to compost market development have been tried with varying degrees of success. The key elements of a marketing program and the need for public education on the uses of compost is reviewed. A discussion of existing compost technologies follows and many of the established manufacturers and suppliers and their proprietary composting production systems are reviewed. Representative North American facilities are evaluated. Representative international facilities are also evaluated in some detail. Useful lessons can be learned from the study of many of these facilities and the implementation of national policies on composting. Legislation, regulations, standards and guidelines in various North American and European jurisdictions are reviewed. The future potential for implementing municipal solid waste programs in North America appears to be bright. Obstacles that must be removed before the future potential is attained are discussed. The composting of yard and garden wastes is a high-profile public and municipal concern. Collection strategies to take advantage of the availability of this organic resource and their respective operating systems are reviewed. Each section of the study is followed by a comprehensive bibliography that should be useful to the composting practitioner in Ontario.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/15753
Date: 1990
Rights: Queen's Printer for Ontario, Crown Copyright, Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights Holder: Queen's Printer for Ontario


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