3 Large-scale Composting Methods You Should Know

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

When it comes to composting waste materials on-site, it can be difficult to decide which process to choose. Doing large-scale composting on-site allows a business to greatly reduce the amount of waste that requires disposal, which saves money by avoiding discarding costs. The following are three of the most common types of large-scale composting that you can use.

Aerobic composting

Aerobic composting replicates the natural decomposition process through the use of oxygen and bacteria. This process is suitable for all kinds of organic waste, including waste that is high in nitrogen.

This method does require a substantial amount of maintenance. Plant matter like raked leaves or grass clippings stimulates the growth of bacteria that can produce high temperatures up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature and moisture of the compost pile needs to be closely monitored. The compost should be turned every few days to promote good air circulation. However, the process itself works fairly quickly. Aerobic composting is more suitable for outdoor use, and is conducive with a wide range of materials.

In aerated static pile composting, the organic waste is mixed together in one giant pile. A series of pipes runs through the mixture, where air may enter. While aerated static piles need less maintenance than windrow composting, the process is not efficient for use on greases or animal byproducts. Aerating piles may also prove troublesome in colder weather, as the overall temperature of the pile needs to be closely monitored. Assuming that appropriate ventilation is provided, aerated static compost piles are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Compost is generally produced through aerated static piles within three to six months.

Anaerobic composting

Anaerobic composting does not use oxygen to decompose waste. The process takes a longer, up to several years, and generally occurs in landfills. The anaerobic composting process happens when organic materials pile up and begin to break down naturally. This is a process that requires zero maintenance, so the compost never needs to be turned. However, this method does tend to produce bad smells, as it releases a substantial amount of methane.

One anaerobic compost process that has been used by farmers for centuries is Bokashi composting. Where traditional methods utilizes soil microbes and heat to break down plant matter, Bokashi relies on more beneficial microbes. This process can compost all manner of food scraps, even if they are not plant based food waste. Bokashi composting generally breaks down matter in four to six weeks using a fermentation process. It is suitable for use outside or indoors, as the acidity created kills harmful pathogens. The Bokashi process works first by fermenting the food waste, then the decomposition is completed by the soil microbes.

Windrow composting

This composting process uses long piles of compost known as windrows, rather than large piles. Windrow composting is especially efficient because it allows for the proper temperature and bacterial growth, as well as the correct amount of oxygen flow. This method is one of the best for large-scale jobs, like high volume food-processing or for government and municipal composting.

Windrow composting can be done by hand, but it is easier and more efficient to use a machine like a compost turner. This large equipment is able to turn windrows quickly. Maintenance tasks besides turning include proper disposal of leachate, or wastewater, and any smells that are associated with the windrows.

If you would like to learn more about composting or compost turners, contact the experts at SCARAB International today. Our compost turners can be customized to fit your specific needs and we offer new, refurbished, and used compost turners. You can call us at (806) 883-7621 or Contact Us by email for more information about our Products and Services, including our Leasing Options.