4 Common Commercial Composting Problems To Avoid

Monday, December 30th, 2019
SCARAB composting machine

Commercial composting is a great way to get rid of organic waste and support local business growth. Many municipalities have seen benefits from composting and growers can experience increases in yield and crop quality as well. Despite all these benefits, there are some issues that can happen, especially if the composting process has not been done correctly.


There are many contaminants that can enter into compost during any step of the process. Pesticides and herbicides like Clopyralid can enter the compost from the start if the materials used contain these products. Persistent toxins, like those used in forest products that make up a large percentage of composting materials too. Bacteria, heavy metals, and other chemicals besides pesticides can also be present in compost.

Compost that has these components can cause crops to die and even compost piles to fail. This is why using organic waste that has not been exposed to toxins is so important. Commercial composting facilities should be careful to use only the best materials possible.

Surprising toxins

The source of the toxins listed above isn’t surprising, but the environment is full of other, surprising contaminants that can enter compost. For example, leaves that have been included in organic compost could have been gathered from city roads. This means they could have vehicle fluids like oil. Pet waste can also be a problem because it can hold pathogens that are only mitigated by the highest temperatures possible in compost heaps.

Well-intentioned green composting organizations can sometimes take non-organic materials like asbestos and or petroleum without even knowing it.

Issues with the composting process

When it comes to commercial composting, contaminants aren’t the only problem to watch out for. This product is sensitive, especially the acid-alkaline of the mixture. If a compost pile is comprised of too much animal waste, it cannot age properly. Compost that holds little nutritional value is yet another issue.

Not using the right composting method

This isn’t a problem related to materials, but the methods and tools used. If you have a commercial composting facility, your first step should be to know the size of your windrows.

Production will be done on a larger scale than backyard composting, so you may not be able to put your product in a bin and let it form alone. Long piles known as windrows are efficient for large-scale composting operations, although tall piles can work too. Once you determine the size of the windrows, you can begin creating them.

Maintaining the compost for the months it will take to have a finished product is also important. You will need to ensure that the acid-alkaline levels are accurate and that the compost gets enough oxygen and moisture. Turning the compost, whether by hand or a machine, will be a vital step in producing a high-quality product. Commonly used compost turners include tractor driven machines and self-propelled windrow turners.

Looking for a high-quality self-propelled compost turner?

At SCARAB International, we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for your commercial composting. We offer a variety of compost turners to suit small, medium, and large-scale operations. Check out our New, Used, Refurbished. We can also make custom Products to suit your individual needs. You can reach us at (806) 883-7621 or Send Us an Email for more information.