3 Successful Municipal Composting Methods

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

Environmental policy in Europe has successfully increased the recycling rates of municipal waste. Recycling methods in these countries include material recycling and composting. European countries have set a goal to recycle 50% of their waste by the year 2020, but cannot guarantee success in getting every country on board yet. Wealthier locations that have more tourism tend to have higher waste production rates, and often landfill their waste instead of recycling or composting. Many states and cities in the United States are working with municipal composting programs to help reduce landfill waste.

No matter the country, composting has become a popular method for taking care of waste products. The following are some of the most common methods of municipal composting.

Large scale composting methods

Aerobic composting uses a replication of the natural decomposition process with bacteria and oxygen. This process can be used for all kinds of organic waste, including that which has a high nitrogen content. However, this composting method does take maintenance.

Grass clippings, raked leaves, and other plant matter simulate how bacteria works in the decomposition process. Temperatures in compost piles made with these materials can reach up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. You must check moisture content and temperature frequently, and turn the piles every few days to produce good air circulation. This process, which is is meant to be used outdoors, works quickly and is good for a wide variety of materials.

Anaerobic composting is a zero maintenance process where organic materials are allowed to pile up and decompose at a natural rate. This process takes longer, often years, to make compost. Anaerobic composting produces a large amount of methane gas, so bad smells are another disadvantage to using this method. However, there is an anaerobic method that uses fermentation to break down materials quicker called the Bokashi method.

Windrow composting uses long rows of compost instead of piling up the waste material. The rows are called windrows. This is an efficient process that allows for proper bacterial growth, good temperatures, and an adequate flow of oxygen. Windrow composting is best for businesses with large scale needs, like municipal composting and commercial composting plants.

Using compost turners for windrow composting

Turning compost by hand is possible, but is much more efficient with the use of a compost turner, also known as a windrow turner. This large scale equipment can turn windrows quickly. Compost windrow turners can also dispose of wastewater and eliminate bad odors. Because turning windrows is a large scale operation, it may be subject to a city’s zoning and site requirements. Communities are sensitive to odor control, so the compost should be tested in a lab for heavy metal content and incorrect bacterial growth.

Windrow compost turners from SCARAB International

At SCARAB International, we can customize compost turners to work for your unique composting operation. Our machines are designed to handle large, medium, and small composting projects. Choose from New, Refurbished, and Used compost turners, or learn more about our Leasing Options. You can call us at (806) 883-7621 or Contact Us through email to find out more.