How Does Commercial Composting Work?

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

Composting is an important component in waste management because it helps to reduce soil erosion by acting as a fertilizer. Commercial composting has quietly developed into a large industry that handles a high volume of organic waste on a daily basis. Even private composting companies that gather waste from homes and small business facilities are showing a profit every quarter.

The origins of commercial composting

In some cities, commercial composting companies originally began as a volunteer effort that promoted a lifestyle of conservation. Over time, many of these free composting cooperatives turned themselves into large commercial entities.

The growing interest in commercial composting continues to be helpful in reducing environmental impact caused by organic waste, while encouraging everyone to be conscious of recycling. Therefore, commercial composting has become a rapidly expanding business that is in high demand in many sectors.

How is waste gathered?

Typically, a commercial composting company will collect waste from various restaurants, local grocery stores, and other commercial facilities that strictly handle or process food. Other companies will also include lawn waste and garden trimmings from local nurseries and landscaping companies as part of their compost.

Some commercial composting operations will secure an agreement to regularly collect waste from local homeowners, who put their yard and food waste in a specific container. Usually, they will collect on the same day as local garbage pickup. An agreement is often in place with local governments for waste collection and other services to be provided for all of the residents in a town.

Waste collection is a fairly easy process. The commercial composting company will send a fleet of trucks out to gather the waste and bring it to a central facility. Some commercial composting plants will allow individuals to drop off their own waste at the facility on certain days of the week. This works well for farms and other agricultural businesses, who often transport large truckloads of organic waste that is already prepared for composting.

The commercial composting process

A well-managed commercial composting facility should never generate an odor, regardless of whether the plant is using anaerobic or aerobic methods. The sheer volume of organic waste that is gathered will require a large amount of space for the composting process. Many companies will choose the anaerobic method because it breaks down waste quickly by using organisms that generate a tremendous amount of heat.

Workers must continually turn or rotate the waste, which helps to introduce oxygen into the mix and speed up the decomposition process. Other commercial composting methods include adding straw or chafe to the mix so the waste breaks down faster.

It is important to continuously check the condition of the compost mix to see if it is still fresh. This is accomplished by keeping temperature sensors inside the mix and periodically taking a sample to determine the bacterial level. It is also important to use a compost turner to mix the materials that make up the pile, or windrow. Continuously turning the waste is a key component to producing a quality product.

What happens to the compost after processing?

The compost produced at a commercial plant is often considered a high grade product because the final production process is handled with care. Companies will sell compost to plant nurseries, golf courses, and municipalities for landscaping projects and distributing to citizens. Other signed contracts or verbal agreements include selling compost to farms, who originally supplied the raw, organic waste in return for finished compost. The amount of product sold is all dependent upon how well the commercial composting plant is managed.

What are compost turners?

These machines, also known as windrow turners, make taking care of compost simple for commercial composting operations and individuals alike. The turners move over the piles of waste, turning and aerating them as they go. The size of equipment you need will depend on the size of your composting operation. If you operate a commercial composting plant, the largest model available is recommended. If you are are a farmer, a smaller model might work for you. It is best to purchase a compost turner that is customized to your business needs, although you can purchase pre-made or refurbished units as well.

If you would like to learn more about commercial composting equipment, contact the experts at SCARAB International today. We provide customized compost turners to fit your unique needs. Our machines can be used for small, medium, or large composition projects. We offer New, Refurbished, and Used windrow turners for sale and can even Refurbish your current equipment. Give us a call today at (806) 883-7621 or Contact Us via email to learn more about our Leasing Options.