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Organic Gardeners Composting

Organic Gardeners Composting

Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but didn't know what to do? Here are the best tips on how to become a true and envied organic gardner.

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The Keys to a Great Compost

This informative eBook demonstrates the best ways to compost in order to improve your garden, make your vegetables and fruits taste better, and help save the soil and the environment. Over 20% of landfills are simply kitchen waste that could easily be recycled Why waste what you already produce? You have an easy source of organic health for your own garden at home, without having to spend large amounts of money in order to make really healthy soil. With today's composting technology, you can compost as much as suits your needs! If that is a little compost for a small home garden or a large plot that you grow food for your family or business, composting will be an easy and cheap way to improve the quality of your soil and thus your vegetables as well! This guide shows you every method of composting; from free methods you can do with no extra money all the way to elaborate by easy to set up composting rigs. Improve the environment, and get better tasting food!

The Keys to a Great Compost Overview


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Author: Duane Palmer
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Table 7551 Design Considerations For Aerobic Sludge Composting Processes

Both untreated and digested sludge can be composted successfully. Untreated sludge has a greater potential for odors, particularly for windrow systems. Untreated sludge has more energy available, degrades more readily, and has a higher oxygen demand. Amendment and bulking agent characteristics, such as moisture content, particle size, and available carbon, affect the process and quality of the product. Bulking agents should be readily available. Wood chips, sawdust, recycled compost, and straw can be used. The volatile solids of the composting mix should be greater than 50 . Air with at least 50 oxygen remaining should reach all parts of the composting material for optimum results, especially in mechanical systems. The moisture content of the composting mixture should be not greater than 60 for static pile and windrow composting and not greater than 65 for in-vessel composting. The pH of the composting mixture should generally be in the range of 6 to 9. The optimum temperature for...

Cocomposting Retrieved Organics With Sludge

The principles of composting and a description of the process technology are presented in Section 7.43 for sludge composting. While the fundamentals of sludge composting are applicable to MSW composting, several significant differences exist. The major difference involves preprocessing when MSW is composted. As shown in Figure 10.14.1, receiving, the removal of recoverable material, size reduction, and the adjustment of waste properties (e.g., the C N ratio and the addition of moisture and nutrients) are essential steps in preparing MSW for composting. Obviously, different preprocessing strategies are needed for source-separated organic MSW and yard waste. Also, the degree of preprocessing depends on the type of composting process used and the specifications for the final compost product (Tchobanoglous, Theissen, and Vigil 1993). MSW composting employs the same techniques as sludge composting windrow, aerated static pile, and in-vessel systems. Tchobanoglous, Theissen, and Vigil (1993)

Aerobic Composting in MSW Management

The organic fraction of MSW includes food waste, paper, cardboard, plastics, textiles, rubber, leather, and yard waste. Organic material makes up about half of the solid waste stream (Henry 1991) (see Section 10.5). Almost all organic components can be biologically converted although the rate at which these components degrade varies. Composting is the biological transformation of the organic fraction of MSW to reduce the volume and weight of the material and produce compost, a humus-like material that can be used as a soil conditioner (Tchobanoglous, Theissen, and Vigil 1993). Composting is gaining favor for MSW management (Goldstein and Steuteville 1992). It diverts organic matter from landfills, reduces some of the risks associated with landfilling and incineration, and produces a valuable byproduct (compost). At the present time, twenty-one MSW composting plants are operating in the United States (Goldstein and Steuteville 1992). Most of these plants compost a mixed MSW waste...

Production and Uses of Compost

Just about any organic material that originated from plant or animal material can be composted, including yard waste, municipal solid waste, waste paper, food waste, land-clearing debris, sewage sludge, and wood-products waste. Unfortunately, the source material for compost is thus highly variable in physical and chemical properties depending on type, location, and season. Thus, compost can also be variable in characteristics, particularly if the composting process is not closely controlled or carried out fully. It is often said in the composting industry that 'the process is more important than the material composted,' but source material often has a major effect on the composting process itself, as well as on the final compost product. Composting waste material is a major growth industry in many parts of the world. As public and governmental pressures restrict other methods of disposal of organic wastes even more, the production and utilization of compost is increasing. Compost can...


Composting is the aerobic, theromophilic, biological decomposition of organic material under controlled conditions. It is essentially the same process that is responsible for the decay of organic matter in nature except that it occurs under controlled conditions. As a consequence, new practices are being encouraged that include the treatment of organic waste with resource recovery. Composting is one of these practices (Kuchenrither et al. 1987). Composting is a method of solid waste treatment in which the organic component of the solid waste stream is biologically decomposed under controlled aerobic conditions to a state in which it can be safely handled, stored, and applied to the land without adversely affecting the environment. It is a controlled, or engineered, biological system. Composting can provide pathogen kill, volume reduction and stabilization, and resource recovery. Properly composed waste is aesthetically acceptable, essentially free of human pathogens, and easy to...

Compost Filters

W& H Pacific conceived the idea of utilizing yard debris compost as a treatment and filtration medium for storm-water runoff. This medium removes organic and inorganic pollutants through adsorption, filtration, and biological processes (ion exchange and bioremediation). The Compost Storm Water Treatment System (CSF ) has been constructed at eight different sites throughout Oregon. Six of the eight systems are enclosed facilities, located below grade, while the remaining two are open channel systems retrofitted into existing swales. The technology is being tested and field modified. The filtering capacity of the medium removes sediments from the runoff. Ion exchange and adsorption removes oils and greases, heavy metals, and non-dissolved nutrients. Following adsorption, organic material is further broken down into carbon dioxide and water by microbial action within the compost. Treated stormwater then passes through a 6 in to 8 in gravel layer underneath the filtering media, and is...

The Intelligent Choices

Mix with fertilizer or add to compost tree, which we know have a low N content and less than 15 of lignin. Then we should mix the leaves with fertilizer or add to compost. Now, in the lower part of Figure 2 we can see that if we look in more detail at the N economy of a maize system, we have other options -maybe add the low N material to the cattle corral (kraal boma) to trap urine N or feed to livestock to produce higher quality organic inputs. Organic resources belonging to the third column from the left could be fed to livestock and the manure thus produced could belong to the first or the second organic resource class, depending on the management of that manure.

Soil Productivity and Protection

Utilization of nutrients from deeper layers of soils by deep-rooted trees determine the extent and rate of soil improvement in agroforestry systems. Furthermore, the presence of deep-rooted trees in the system can contribute to improved soil physical conditions and higher soil microbiological activities under agroforestry. NFTs that are common in the tropics are a particularly valuable resource for soil improvement. Farmlands in many parts of the developing world generally suffer from the continuous depletion of nutrients as farmers harvest without fertilizing adequately or fallowing the land. One promising way for overcoming the acute problem of low nutrient status of African soils is to enable smallholders to use fertilizer tree systems that increase on-farm food production. After years of experimentation with a wide range of soil-fertility replenishment practices, three major types of simple, practical, fertilizer-tree systems have been developed The other major avenue of soil...

The technological model or bringing the incinerator back in

This is most clearly expressed in the area of waste. While the City introduced so-called Green Bins citywide in order to capture the socalled wet waste of households, it is struggling to find solutions to the continuingly growing mountain of common household waste, which escapes recycling and is being shipped by caravans of trucks along a more than 400 km long road to Michigan. As ecological modernization has gripped the material streams and waste habits of all Torontonians, it remains unclear whether the spirit of reduction can outlast the nagging aggressiveness of the proponents of more conventional methods of waste management and of technologically advanced forms of incineration.2 Waste streams have reached an impasse as old dumps are closing, new ones are not available, shipment of waste runs into public opposition along the trucks' route and in the recipient location on one hand, this has led to sophisticated new waste diversion strategies, which also rely on compliance...

Techniques For Imaging The Location Of Enzymes

At the field scale, researchers use biochemical and physiological methods to investigate the functional response of soil organisms to the manipulation or preservation of soils. These applications include microbe-plant interactions and controlling plant pathogens, as well as understanding organic matter decomposition and its impact on local and global C and N cycling. Soil biologists investigate the effects of soil management (tillage, fertilizer, pesticides, crop rotation) or disturbance on the function of soil organisms. In many cases, soil microbial biomass and or soil microbial processes can be early predictors of the effects of soil management on soil quality and can indicate the expected rapidity of these changes. Monitoring of soil microbial properties is also included in environmental studies that test the use of soil microorganisms in bioremediation and composting. Future challenges in functional soil microbiology are to use our present knowledge to scale-up these data to the...

Biodiversity And Treatment Wetlands

In natural ecosystems microbes are usually found attached to particles of detritus. Two historic views of the relationship are shown in Figure 2.17. In practice, it is difficult or impossible to separate the living microbial organisms from the nonliving detritus particles, and they are often treated as a complex in ecological field work. From the perspective of detritivores who consume detritus, Cummins (1974) suggested that the complex is like a peanut butter cracker. In this anthropocentric metaphor, the microbes are the nutritious peanut butter because of their low carbon to nitrogen ratio, while the detritus particle is the nutritionally poor cracker because of its high carbon to nitrogen ratio (see the composting section in Chapter 6 for more discussion of the carbon to nitrogen ratio). Thus, a detritivore obtains more nutrition from the microbe than from the detritus particle itself, but both must be ingested because they form a unit. The detritus complex is an important part of...

Complementary resources See resource

Compost An organic fertilizer made from the breakdown by bacteria and other microorganisms of garden rubbish, kitchen vegetable waste, and other biodegradable material. Bacteria in soils are mixed with the waste and the mixture turned regularly to admit air. The organic material breaks down to a relatively stable humus-like material.

Stressor Dose Response

For example, cultural eutrophication is a major problem associated with most coastal zones due to disposal of household waste into these zones. The stressor in this situation is increase in nutrients from human wastes living in the area. The response from such activity will be oxygen depletion resulting in fish kill. Fish kill has negative impact on fish populations but this same stressor could produce a different response on other organisms such as phytoplankton bloom in this coastal zone where eutrophication is taking place. For example, opportunistic plant species dwelling in such eutrophic waters will respond positively to this stressor by blooming. Central to defining levels of exposure deemed safe or unsafe for environmental stressors is studying exposure-response and developing exposure-response models needed for ecological risk assessment for public policymakers.

Fixed Film Biotreatment Systems

Most biological air treatment technologies are fixed-film systems that rely on the growth of a biofilm layer on an inert organic support such as compost or peat (biofilters) or on an inorganic support such as ceramic or plastic (biotrickling filters). For both systems, solid particles must be removed from waste gases before the gases enter the system particulates plug the pores. Both systems are best suited for treating vapor streams containing one or two major compounds. When properly designed, biofilters are well suited for treating streams that vary in concentration from minute to minute.

Timber From The Tropics

Seen from the point of view of resources, substitution with natural fibres is a positive step. The production energy will be considerably lower, and can be halved for some sheet products (Patel, 2002). Generally, composites are not very desirable since they involve irreversible mixing of materials, making material recycling practically impossible. In the case of bioplastics, this picture provides openings for improvement. In some cases the products may even be entirely compostable.

Soil nutrient composition

The top organic horizons provide most of the labile nutrients. With depth, the organic matter becomes more recalcitrant as the more labile nutrients are removed and less soluble, less nutritious molecules remain. The labile SOM consists of molecules readily removed from the soil by living organisms and readily soluble molecules. These have a short halflife in soils as they are removed easily by living cells, but consequently they have a higher turnover rate. This pool is reduced over several years when soil is used for agriculture. As much as half the labile organic matter, or the light fraction, is used in the first year of growing a crop on a field. Therefore, it is essential that nutrients be replenished regularly with plant debris, manure, compost or chemical fertilizers.

Short Environmental Encyclopedia

1) bacteria sometimes it is useful in the cheese and yoghurt business, in making compost, in cleaning oil tanks on board ships and in oil refineries Another use of decay is compost a mixture of the organic matter (old potato peelings, grass cutting, shredded newspaper) under right conditions (warmth, moisture, oxygen). Compost holds moisture and plant nutrients (chemicals that the plants need to grow), provides food for earthworms and kills weeds (plants growing where they are not wanted).

Histoplasmosis San Joaquin Valley Fever and Aspergillosis Respiratory Mycoses

Several species of Aspergillus can also cause a lung infection known as aspergillosis. A. fumigatus has been of particular concern around some sludge and yard waste composting sites, where it can apparently grow on woodchips, leaves, and other cellulosic materials. It can tolerate higher temperatures (50 C) than can most other fungi. However, the actual incidence of disease seems to be very low (few or no cases per year), although allergic reactions are more common.

Inputs to the environment

Whilst ENPs may be emitted during the manufacturing process, the route of input to the environment will primarily depend on the end use of the ENP (Boxall et al. 2007). For example, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and sunscreens may be emitted to the sewage system following excretion from the patient or during washing and showering. Once they have passed through the sewer system, they may be released to surface waters. Sunscreens and other cosmetics applied on skin may also enter surface waters directly during swimming or bathing. Waste cosmetics are most likely to be disposed of in household waste that may be landfilled or incinerated. Paints containing ENPs can have both industrial and domestic uses. It is possible that runoff from painted surfaces and domestic use of paints could result in discharges to sewers. In instances where paint is applied to underwater structures or ships, ENPs may be released directly to surface waters. The use of ENPs in fuel and catalysts in vehicles will...

Carbon in Environmental Engineering and Science

It traditionally has been the organic carbon (along with pathogens) that was of the greatest concern in water pollution (Section 15.2.7), leading to the construction of wastewater treatment plants (Chapter 16) that focus on its removal. Management of wastewater treatment sludges often has stabilization of the organic material as a major objective. (Stabilization involves conversion of readily degradable materials to those that change only slowly see later in this subsection). Municipal solid waste management also must stabilize the organic material (e.g., by incineration or composting), or else deal with the consequences (e.g., attraction of vermin, settling, and leachate and gas production during landfilling). Similarly, with soil and groundwater contamination, it is often organic carbon that is the target of remediation. Undesirable tastes and odors in drinking water, and the formation of cancer-causing compounds during disinfection, are traceable to organic compounds present in the...

Conservation biodiversity population integrity and uniqueness

A high diversity of indigenous understorey plants can also occur under monocultures of radiata pine Pinus radiata when conditions are good this may be influenced by soil improvement due to mycorrhizal fungi. An extreme example of high biodiversity in an exotic stand was the occurrence of 30 different indigenous orchids beneath black pines at Itwatahi, while two old radiata pines near Fox Glacier bore 8 species of fern and 11 angiosperms as epiphytes.

Process Description

Numerous types of composting systems exist, but for the most part, composting systems can be divided into three categories windrow, static pile, and in-vessel. Windrow systems are composed of long, narrow rows of sludge mixed with a bulking agent. The rows are typically trapezoidal in shape, 1 to 2 m high and 2 to 4.5 m wide at the base. The rows are usually uncovered but can be protected by simple roofs. The sludge mixture is aerated by convec-tive air movement and diffusion. Wastewater treatment facilities periodically turn the rows using mechanical means to expose the sludge to ambient oxygen, dissipate heat, and refluff the rows to maintain good free air space. Windrows can also be aerated by induced aeration (Hay and Kuchenrither 1990). Windrows are space-intensive but mechanically simple. In-vessel composting takes place in either partially or completely enclosed containers. A variety of schematics use various forced aeration and mechanical turning technologies (Tchobanoglous...

Raw Material Selection And Mixture

Wastewater treatment facilities add amendments to sludge to adjust the moisture and other characteristics (such as nutrient level) to improve composting. Bulking agents are added for structural support. The goal is to create a mixture of sludge and bulking agent and amendment with the proper characteristics to support aerobic digestion. The choice of material depends on the characteristics of the sludge, in particular the moisture content (which depends on the degree and type of dewatering process) and the nitrogen content of the sludge. The proper mixture has an appropriate C N balance, proper porosity (to ensure aerobic conditions), and proper moisture content. Haug (1993) points out that the amount of free air space in the mixture is more crucial than the porosity, which is the amount of space not occupied by solids or water. FIG. 7.55.1 Composting process flow diagram. FIG. 7.55.1 Composting process flow diagram. FIG. 7.55.2 Composting process. FIG. 7.55.2 Composting process.

Economic Concepts And The Paradox Of Waste

Of course, some wastes are being recycled but markets are not widely available (Aquino, 1995 Lund, 2001). Many creative uses have been found for certain wastes, often outside of market transactions (Piburn, 1972), such as the use of waste tires for artificial reefs (see Chapter 5), composting examples described earlier in this chapter, and the recycling of oceangoing vessels by ship breakers (Langewiesche, 2000). An extreme case occurs when trash is used as art (Greenfield, 1986), which reveals a surprising aesthetic value of waste. Finding productive uses for waste byproducts is a goal of ecological engineering, and examples are described throughout the text.

Phytoremediation and Other Biotechnologies

Contaminants taken up with water by cation pumps, absorption, and other mechanisms and usually translocated above ground. Harvested shoots or roots put in hazardous waste landfills or could be smelted after volume reduction by incineration or composting. Hyperaccumulation is approximately 100 times normal plant accumulation of elements and is 0.01 by dry weight for Cd and other rare elements, 0.1 for most heavy metals, and 1 for Fe, Mn, and other common elements Extraction from soil of metals, metalloids, radionuclides, perchlorate, BTEX, PCP, short-chained aliphatic and other organic compounds not tightly bound to soils (although phytodegradation of inorganic and organic molecules is more sustainable). US practice is disposal of residuals in hazardous waste landfills but Ni smelting is feasible. Composting to reduce disposal volume conceptualized. Pilot field-testing eastern US unproven at six sites with Pb using B. juncea but proven at two sites with Zn and Cd using Thlaspi...

Fluctuations in Solid Waste Quantities

The generation of solid waste is usually greater in warm weather than in cold weather. Figure 10.3.1 shows two month-to-month patterns of MSW generation. The less variable pattern is a composite of data from eight locations with cold or moderately cold winters (Camp Dresser & McKee Inc. 1992, 1991 Child, Pollette, and Flosdorf 1986 Cosulich Associates 1988 HDR Engineering, Inc. 1989 Killam Associates 1990 North Hempstead 1986 Oyster Bay 1987). Waste generation is relatively low in the winter but rises with temperature in the spring. The surge of waste generation in the spring is caused both by increased human activity, including spring cleaning, and renewed plant growth and associated yard waste. Waste generation typically declines somewhat after June but remains above average until mid to late fall. In contrast, Figure 10.3.1 also shows the pattern of waste generation in Cape May County, New Jersey, a summer resort area (Camp Dresser & McKee Inc. 1991). The annual influx of...

Component Composition of Bulky Waste

The composition of MSW does not change dramatically from season to season. Even the most variable component, yard waste, may be consistent in areas with mild climates. In areas with cold winters, generation of yard waste generally peaks in the late spring, declines gradually through the summer and fall, and is lowest in January and February. A surge in yard waste can occur in mid to late fall in areas where a large proportion of tree leaves enter the solid waste stream and are not diverted for composting or mulching.

Lowland Polish forest

Had the same herbaceous vegetation, differing only in the much smaller proportion of small-leaved lime and a corresponding increase in pedunculate oak and Norway maple. The gap in the regeneration of Tilia cordata extends backwards from about 1923 to before 1870, a period when the area was maintained as a hunting reserve by the Russian Czars. During this period the number of carnivores was kept low and many deer and European bison were kept for hunting. If this helped cause the failure of regeneration of small-leaved lime it did not prevent that of other trees, and the subsequent reduction in numbers of large mammals, such as wild boar, was influential. Cattle grazing, artificial increases and decreases in deer numbers (and hence grazing pressure), and raking and collection of leaf-litter as compost may also have influenced the situation.

Purposes of Solid Waste Characterization

The potential for recycling or composting portions of the waste stream. The purposes of a waste characterization program determine the design of it. If all waste is to be landfilled, the characterization program should focus on the quantity of waste, its density, and its potential for compaction. The composition of the waste and its chemical characteristics are relatively unimportant. If all waste is to be incinerated, the critical parameters are quantity, heat value, and the percentage of combustible material in the waste. If recycling and composting are planned or underway, a composition study can identify the materials targeted for recovery, estimate their abundance in the waste, and monitor compliance with source separation requirements.

Sampling MSW to Estimate Composition

A fundamental question is the time period(s) over which to collect the samples. One-week periods are generally used because most human activity and most refuse collection schedules repeat on a weekly basis. Sampling during a week in each season of the year is preferable. Spring sampling is particularly important because generation of yard waste, the most variable waste category, is generally least in the winter and greatest in the spring.

Review and Use of Laboratory Results

Dry-basis results for the paper, yard waste, plastics, wood, and disposable diapers categories should be close to those shown in Tables 10.3.4 and 10.3.5. Greater variability must be accepted in individual results for food waste, textiles rubber leather, fines, and other combustibles because of the chemical variety of these categories. Among the paper categories, only those with high proportions of glossy paper, such as magazines and advertising mail, should have ash values significantly greater than 10 . Nitrogen should be below 1 for all categories except grass clippings, other yard waste, food waste, textiles rubber leather, fines, and other organics (see Table 10.3.4).

Management Options For Industrial Ecology

Currently moved off the site This arrangement merely allows the polluter to shift the cost burden somewhere else. A more significant 'ecological' achievement would be to move towards avoiding waste altogether through favoring tenant companies that adopt cleaner production technologies, higher rates of recycling and waste exchange, by supporting the production of waste-derived products such as energy, compost and building materials for sale in external markets. At the same time the estate needs to ensure that its own operations are optimized so as to produce as little waste and pollution as possible.

Material Recovery Plant

The organics fraction, left from the plant feed after the removal of metals, plastic film, and paper, is essentially a heavy fraction of small-sized particles containing organics, glass, ceramics, sand, ashes, hard plastics, and small pieces of wood. This fraction is placed into an aerobic digester and broken down into raw compost. After the removal of glass, ceramics, and other inorganic rejects, the raw compost is subcontracted for further processing. This processing splits the organic fraction into a feed fraction (a high-quality compost fraction) and a residue, which is usually landfilled.

Dependence on Flagellates for Cellulase

Unrelated to those produced by the hindgut flagellates (Watanabe et al., 1998 Lo et al., 2000 Slaytor, 2000 Tokuda et al., 2004). The common possession of a certain family of cellulase genes (GHF9) in termites, cockroaches, and crayfish suggest that these enzymes were established in the Dictyopteran lineage long before flagellates took up permanent residence in the hindguts of an ancestor of the termite- Cryptocercus clade (references in Lo et al., 2003b). At present, Cryptocercus and lower termites are considered to have a dual composting system (Nakashima et al., 2002 Ohkuma, 2003) cellulose is degraded by the combined enzymes of the host and the hindgut flagellates. Nonetheless, these hosts are dependent on the staggeringly complex communities of mutually interdependent co-evolved organisms from the Ar-chaea, Eubacteria, and Eucarya in their digestive systems. The interactions of the microbes with each other and with their hosts are still poorly understood however, exciting inroads...

Biodynamic Agriculture

Biodynamic farming is a system of organic farming that includes crop diversification, use of green manures, and use of compost and manures improved by bio-dynamic preparations. The biodynamic preparations consist of selected plant and animal substances that undergo fermentation for a year and then are used to enhance compost and manure used in the farming operation. These preparations can also be applied directly to soil as a spray to enhance biological activity. The use of biodynamic preparations is the main difference between biodynamic farming and traditional organic agriculture.

Historical Background

Archaeologists have identified persistent themes in MSW management. For example, Bronze Age Trojans periodically became so offended by household waste that they covered it with clay ancient Mesopotamian cities were invariably located upwind of remote garbage dumps in Old Testament Jerusalem, people incinerated their garbage in the nearby valley of Gehenna (later a synonym for 'hell') and the wealthy Classic Maya generated more reusable and recyclable trash than their poor Late Post-Classic descendants (Rathje and Murphy 1992). For most of recorded history, household wastes not left on the floor were simply thrown outside the dwelling to decompose or to be scavenged. In rural areas this was not troubling because little other than food waste and ashes was thrown away. Used clothing, furniture, tools and weapons were carefully repaired or handed down, even in wealthy households. Rags were recycled for paper making. Some organic wastes such as fat and bones were used by households to make...

Current Municipal Solid Waste Management Practices

Today, municipal solid waste (MSW) is a stream that comes primarily from residences and small commercial enterprises, and is mostly non-hazardous. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency definition followed here, MSW includes durable and non-durable goods, containers and packaging, food wastes, yard wastes and miscellaneous inorganic wastes from residential, commercial, institutional and industrial sources (USEPA 2000). The EPA definition excludes industrial waste, agricultural waste, sewage sludge and hazardous wastes including batteries and medical waste. Americans generate increasing quantities of municipal solid waste, whether measured in total tons or kilograms per capita (USEPA 2000). Containers and packaging are the largest fraction of this waste stream (33 per cent in 1995) and non-durable goods are the most rapidly growing fraction (USEPA 2000). High landfilling costs and stricter regulations have spurred various technical and behavioral innovations in municipal...

Manipulating Soil Populations For Bioremediation Of Xenobiotics

Bioremediation manages microorganisms to reduce, eliminate, contain, or transform contaminants present in soils, sediments, water, or air. Various forms of bioremediation have been documented throughout recorded history. The composting of agricultural residues and sewage treatment are based on the use of microorganisms to catalyze chemical transformations. Composting dates back to 6000 BCE, with the modern use of bioremediation beginning over 100 years ago with the design and operation of the first biological sewage treatment plant in Sussex, England, in 1891. Over the past several decades, in situ degradation of biologically foreign chemical compounds (solvents, explosives, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, radionuclides, etc.) has been used as a cost-effective alternative to incineration or burial in landfills (Alexander, 1994). An advantage of bioremediation over other methods is that it transforms contaminants instead of simply moving them from one source to another...

Effects On Invertebrate Behaviour

Decomposed by them and extractives from such wood are often attractive to termites, and VOCs can stimulate termites to eat more sound wood and build more galleries. White-rot fungi and white-rotted wood are often unattractive and even toxic to termites, though P. ostreatus was attractive. White-rot fungal mycelia are, however, attractive to other arthropods. For example, fungus gnats (Bradysia Sciaridae) are highly attracted to and oviposit in interaction zones of mating incompatible mycelia of Stereum spp. and Phlebia spp. (Boddy et al., 1983 Figure 2a). Collembola are also attracted to and preferentially graze in interaction zones between mycelia growing from woody resources into soil (Figure 2b). These regions are presumably more palatable and leak nutrients, and VOCs are upregulated (Hynes et al., 2007). Sciarids and phorids (Diptera) are attracted to the mycelium and compost of cultivated mushrooms (Agaricus species Grove and Blight, 1983 Tibbles et al., 2005). There were,...

New routines a result of a selfreflexive attitude

Two scores of environmentally friendlier actions are calculated the first is related to the practices reported by the respondents on household waste-sorting (frequency and range of materials sorted) the second score relates to the practices and the criteria that the respondents have for their grocery shopping.3 Both scores have a maximum of four. They will be computed and compared for various categories of households, as explained below. According to our Belgian survey, the perceived pressure to sort household waste is related to both the frequency and the range of the types of waste sorted (the Pearson's correlation coefficient between the score of perceived pressure and the score of sorting is quite high R2 0.40). When the respondents perceive a weak pressure to sort their household waste, they sort it all the more if they have a higher level of education. In Denmark, Jensen (1996) has also noted variations in the types of sorted waste and in the amount of residual waste according...

Food Chains and Food Webs

The detrital chain is based upon decomposition, the reduction of energy-rich organic material by consumers (generally detritivores and decomposers). Whereas photosynthesis and magiosynthesis involve the incorporation of solar energy or magical energy into organic matter, decomposition involves the loss of heat energy and the conversion of organic nutrients into inorganic ones. To test this theory, just go to a farmer's compost heap and stick your hand in. You'll find that the inside of the heap is quiet warm because of all the heat lost through decomposition. Decomposition includes many processes the leaching of soluble compounds from dead organic material, fragmentation, bacterial and fugal breakdown, consumption of bacterial and fungal organisms by animals, excretion of organic and inorganic compounds by organisms, and the clustering of colloidal organic matter into larger particles. Every non-magical animal is involved with decomposition, as its waste products are primary source...

Recipes For Waterbased Stains Recipe 1 Onion Peel Stain

Beeswax is a renewable resource that creates no problems in its production or use. Organic solvents will be a health risk during application, and can even cause problems in the indoor environment for a short period after application. Re-use of treated materials, recycling, energy recycling and composting or dumping create no problems.

Interconnection of Water Landscape and Society The Impact of Humans on Water Cycle

However, there are also examples of positive atti tudes, for example from Australia, where problems with water have reached catastrophic consequences. Integrated water cycle management (IWCM) guidelines for New South Wales local water utilities propose a combined system of water cycle management of water supply, sewerage, and storm water so that water is used optimally. In the Thurgoona Campus of Charles Sturt University in New South Wales, rainwater is collected and stored during the Southern Hemisphere's winter and spring. Runoff water and 'grey water', which origi nates in kitchen sinks, showers, and laundries, is collected in swales and treated in wetlands. The col lected water flows into three interconnected retention basins, from which water is moved via windmill and a solar pump to storage dams at the top of the hill. Water is released from these dams into the waterways when required. Composting toilets are used to treat sewerage on site, and make the connection to the town...

Solid Waste Treatment

Finally, the relative combination of high solids and low moisture found in solid waste streams effectively yields a high-level specific energy content (i.e., cal kg) that is higher than that of most other biodegraded waste (e.g., greater than wastewater and sludge), with the sole exception of agricultural manures. Commensurate with effective biodegradation of these wastes, therefore, the heat release per mass of degraded solids would not only be considerably higher, but also apt to be trapped inside the high-density waste, due to its insulating nature. On the one hand, this heat release and temperature increase could help to accelerate the ongoing biochemical process. However, as is the case with composting, this thermal buildup could accelerate evaporative water loss to a degree that eventually retards the desired activity. waterborne contaminants into the adjacent groundwater table can subsequently be reduced or obviated. At no point during this process, either during active filling...

Separated And Commingled Waste

Yard waste composting includes leaves, grass clippings, bush clippings, and brush. This waste is usually collected separately in special containers. Yard waste composting is increasing especially since some states, as a part of their waste diversion goals, are banning yard waste from landfills (Glenn 1992). The U.S. EPA (1989) Strom and Finstein (1985) and Richard, Dickson, and Rowland (1990) provide detailed descriptions of yard waste composting. Separated MSW refers to the use of mechanical and manual means to separate noncompostable material from compostable material in the MSW stream before composting. The mechanical separation processes involve a series of operations including shredders, magnetic separators, and air classification systems. The sequence is often referred to as front-end processing. Front-end processing prepares the feedstock for efficient composting in terms of homogeneity and particle size. Front-end processing also removes the recyclable components and thus...

Special Considerations

With restrictions on the disposal of sludge, beneficial use of biosolids has become a significant trend. Composting is the leading beneficial reuse technology in terms of manufacturing a product for application to the land. Of course, the success of composting depends on marketing the final compost product. In other words, a use must exist for the compost generated from wastewater sludge. In addition, the public must accept the composting process. Donovan (1992) notes that the most difficult challenge municipalities face in implementing sludge plans is facility siting. The general public is apprehensive concerning any waste handling facility, and specific concerns about odor, health, traffic, and land values have slowed or stopped many projects. Composting is basically a simple process it is quite robust and therefore a forgiving process. It can be managed in many cases (such as the backyard compost pile) with little or no technical knowledge. However, as composting applications...

Flash Drying Versus Other Processes

Composting sewage sludge is an innovation because no commercial installations exist in which sewage solids are composted alone. The process has potential both ecologically and economically but requires using shredded municipal refuse. When sludge is composted alone, without shredded refuse, successful treatment requires recycling the drier, already composted, sewage solids with the raw, wetter, dewatered solids, such as occurs in the second step of the flash-drying method. This recycling produces a drier, more porous sludge, which is necessary for good composting.

Odors And Odor Control

Odor control has become a major concern in the successful operation of any composting facility. Indeed, some operating facilities have been closed due to odor problems (Libby 1991). Numerous papers have been published identifying the causes of odors and management strategies to control odors (Hentz et al. 1992 Miller 1993 Goldstein 1993 Van Durme, McNamara, and McGinley 1992). Many potential sources of odors exist at composting facilities. While the process air coming off a compost pile is most odorous, environmental engineers must evaluate all potential sources of odors. Therefore, a proper inventory of the potential sources of odors is necessary including liquid sludge and dewatered sludge facilities. Haug (1990) states that odors are part of the composting process and cannot be eliminated, but they can be managed. Finstein et al. (1986 1993) point out that controlling the composting process is crucial in minimizing odor production. This process control includes good aeration and...

Implications for Recovery of Useful Materials

Almost all solid waste materials can be recycled in some way if people are willing to devote enough time and money to the recycling effort. Because time and money are always limited, distinctions must be drawn between materials that are more and less difficult to recycle. Table 10.5.1 shows the compostable, combustible, and recyclable fractions of MSW. The materials listed as recyclable are those for which large-scale markets exist if the local recycling industry is well developed. The list of recyclable materials is different in different areas. Approximately 75 of the MSW discarded in the United States is compostable or recyclable. No solid waste district of substantial size in the United States has documented a 75 rate of MSW recovery and reuse, however. Reasons for this include the following contamination during use. A significant fraction of recyclable material cannot be recovered from the consumer. A portion of both recyclable and compostable material is lost during processing...

Component Composition of MSW

Table 10.3.1 lists the representative component composition for MSW disposed in the United States and adjacent portions of Canada and shows ranges for individual components. Materials diverted from the waste stream for recycling or composting are not included. The table is based on the results of twenty-two field studies in eleven states plus the Canadian province of British Columbia. The ranges shown in the table are annual values for county-sized areas. Seasonal values may be outside these ranges, especially in individual municipalities.

Summary and Conclusions

Composting is a cost effective and environmentally sound alternative for the stabilization and ultimate disposal of wastewater sludge. It produces compost a stable, humuslike material which is a soil conditioner. Thus, the process can achieve waste treatment with resource recovery and represents a beneficial use of sludge. Recent advances have been made in the basic fundamental science associated with composting along with the technology used for the process. These advances have increased the use of the process for wastewater sludge management. While the composting process is simple in concept, it must be regarded as an engineered unit process. As such, it must be based on sound scientific principles, designed with good engineering, and operated with care by well-trained and motivated operators. With these practices, wastewater treatment facilities can produce a safe compost of consistently good quality in an environmentally sound manner.

Basic Characterization Methods

Obtaining complete production data for every item discarded as solid waste is difficult. Although data on food sales are available, food sales bear little relation to the generation of food waste. Not only is most food not discarded, but significant quantities of water are added to or removed from many food items between purchase and discard. These factors vary from one area to another based on local food preferences and eating patterns. Material flows methodology cannot measure the generation of yard waste. Material flows methodology does not account for the addition of nonmanufactured materials to solid waste prior to discard, including water, soil, dust, pet droppings, and the contents of used disposable diapers. Some of the material categories used in material flows studies do not match the categories of materials targeted for recycling. For example, advertising inserts in newspapers are typically recycled with the newsprint, but in material flows studies the inserts are part of a...

Nutrient Availability

Composts generally represent a high organic matter medium containing all of the nutrients needed by plants, in approximately the same quantities that are found in plants. However, the most common mistake made in utilizing compost as a soil amendment is to treat it as a fertilizer. Most composts are quite nutrient deficient, and must be amended with plant nutrients, particularly with available N. Compost manufacturers are often to blame for the misconception that compost alone is a suitable plant growth medium. One can stop by nearly any garden-supply store and see bags of recycled compost products with the total N-P2O5-K2O label written across the front. The implication is clearly that this is a fertilizer product despite claims in the 'directions for use' that it is not. Most of the nutrients in compost are in an unavailable, organically bound form. For instance, a typical compost may be 1-3 total N by weight, but the ammonium and nitrate (available forms) of N are typically less...

Gaseous Emission Control Biofiltration

The biological treatment of VOCs and other pollutants has received increasing attention in recent years. Biofiltration involves the removal and oxidation of organic compounds from contaminated air by beds of compost, peat, or soil. This treatment often offers an inexpensive alternative to conventional air treatment technologies such as carbon adsorption and incineration.

Layer Thickness On Sand Beds

Except for odor control in developed areas or areas with an extremely cold climate, beds need not be covered. Final preparation of the dried sludge for public use, such as shredding, windrow composting, or heat drying, increases its value. When communities use composting in digesting the organic part of municipal refuse, introducing a gravity-thickened, raw sludge is economically competitive. For larger

Sewage Sludge Incineration

Sewage sludge, the stabilized and digested solid waste product of the wastewater treatment process, can be disposed of by landfilling, incineration, composting, or ocean dumping. Nature returns organic material to the soil as fertilizer. Organic material becomes waste when it is not returned to the soil but instead is burned, buried, or dumped in the ocean. These unhealthy practices began when chemical fertilizers took the market away from sludge-based compost and when industrial waste began to contaminate sewage sludge with toxic metals (lead and cadmium), making it unusable for agricultural purposes. Until recently, the bulk of the sewage sludge generated by metropolitan areas has been either landfilled or dumped in the ocean. These options are gradually disappearing and as a result municipalities will have to make some hard decisions. (See Sections 7.31 to 7.56).

Grease Traps And Grease Interceptors

Where the wastewater contains large amounts of greasy kitchen waste, grease traps should be used. Their minimum capacity is 3.0 gal (11.5 l) per capita and should be no less than 30 gal (0.115 m3) per unit (see Figure 7.16.1). The influent line should terminate at least 6in (15 cm) below the water line, and the effluent pipe should take off near the bottom of the tank.

Separation at the Source

The more finely household waste is separated, the greater its contribution to recycling. Figure 10.6.1 shows an approach where household waste is separated into four containers. Container 1 would receive all organic or putrescible materials, including food-soiled paper and disposable diapers and excluding toxic substances and glass or plastic items. The contents of this container can be taken to a composting plant that also receives yard wastes and possibly sewage sludge and produces soil additives. Separate collections are required for trash items that are not generated on a daily basis, such as yard waste, brush

Stability And Product Quality

In composting operations, the objective is decomposition rather than complete stabilization. The degree of decomposition, however, is not an absolute state since it depends on the final product use. In some cases, the degree is one where the material does not cause nuisances when stored even if it is wetted. If the final product is used on a plant system, the compost should not be phytotoxic. Currently, many parameters can be used for composting process control and final product quality including the final drop in temperature degree of self-heating capacity amount of decomposable and resistant organic material rise in redox potential oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide evolution starch test color, odor, appearance, and texture pathogen and indicator organisms and inhibition of germination of cress seeds (Finstein, Miller, and Strom 1986 Inbar et al. 1990). This list covers many possibilities, but which are best for measuring the completion of composting is unclear. The optimal parameter...

Implications For Solid Waste Management

This section addresses several aspects of the relationship between the characteristics of solid waste and the methods used to manage it. Implications for waste reduction, recycling, composting, incineration, and landfilling are included, as well as general implications for solid waste management as a whole.

Consumption of fallen fruit

Of course, not all plant detritus is so difficult for detritivores to digest. Fallen fruit, for example, is readily exploited by many kinds of opportunist feeders, including insects, birds and mammals. However, like all detritus, decaying fruits have associated with them a microflora, in this case mainly dominated by yeasts. Fruit-flies (Drosophila spp.) specialize at feeding on these yeasts and their by-products and in fruit-laden domestic compost heaps in Australia, five species of fruit-fly show differing preferences for particular categories of rotting fruit and vegetables (Oakeshott et al., 1982). Drosophila hydei and D. immigrans prefer melons, D. busckii specializes on rotting vegetables, while D. simulans is catholic in its tastes for a variety of fruits. The common D. melanogaster, however, shows a clear preference for rotting grapes and pears. Note that rotting fruits can be highly alcoholic. Yeasts are commonly the early colonists and the fruit sugars are fermented to...

Deep Ecology And Soft Engineering Exploring The Possible Relationship Of Soil Bioengineering To Eastern Religions

Several workers have briefly mentioned connections between ecological engineering and Eastern religions in particular. Todd and Todd (1994) mention feng shui, which is a set of principles from Chinese philosophy for organizing landscapes and habitats. Jenkins (1994) in his review of composting systems included a chapter entitled The Tao of Compost which makes a case for integrating waste disposal into people's lifestyles. Finally, Wann (1996) described related thoughts as noted below

Comments from the Literature about Muskrats in Treatment Wetlands

Plate Waste Template

Perhaps their ecological role can be used to improve treatment capacity. One strategy might be to take advantage of their concentration of biomass in mounds by harvesting the mounds in the spring to remove nutrients. This might reduce the cost of harvesting because the muskrats would be doing some of the collection work for free, and the mound material might be used, like compost, as a soil amendment. In a sense the muskrat is a basic element in the ecological and hydrologic self-organization of temperate, humid landscapes. They have evolved to spread water around and regulate wetland processes in marsh ecosystems. It would be a significant accomplishment of ecological engineering if their adaptations could be used productively. Ultimately, a treatment marsh without muskrats is an incomplete ecosystem.


Carbon to nitrogen ratio (C N ratio) The ratio of carbon to nitrogen in organic matter. When organic material is decomposed in the soil, the C N ratio has an effect on the rate of decomposition and hence on the amount of humus formed and the rate at which soil nitrogen is released or immobilized. The rate of decomposition increases as the C N ratio becomes smaller, as microorganisms in general require a ratio of about 30-35 1 for efficient digestion of compost or other organic material, materials with higher ratios having insufficient nitrogen for rapid decomposition. Decomposition of material with high C N ratios results in release of nitrogen from the decomposing organic material into the soil. Most fresh plant material contains about 40 carbon, but species differ in their nitrogen content. During decomposition, up to 35 of the carbon present will be converted into humus if there is sufficient nitrogen present, the remainder being respired as carbon dioxide. The C N ratio of humus...

Physical Effects

One of the primary benefits of adding compost is the addition of organic matter. Organic matter has many positive benefits in creating a suitable medium for plant growth, including impacts on soil physical, chemical, and biological properties. The addition of compost to the soil almost always improves physical properties of the soil such as aggregation, water-holding capacity, porosity, and aeration. The solid particles of soil are bound into structures known as aggregates, which are affected by the physical, chemical, and biological conditions existing in the soil, especially the microbial decomposition of organic matter. The application oforganic matter to the soil provides a food source for soil microbes and other soil animals such as the earthworm. The activity of these organisms produces substances that increase soil aggregation. With increased aggregate stability, the ability of the soil to withstand physical impacts, such as water and traffic, are increased. In most cases,...


Biofiltration combines the mechanism of adsorption, the washing effect of water (for scrubbing), and oxidation. Soils and compost have porosity and surface areas similar to those of activated carbon and other synthetic adsorbents. Soil and compost also have a microbial population of more than 1 billion antiomycetes (microorganism resembling bacteria and fungi) per gram (Alexander 1977). These microbes oxidize organic compounds to carbon dioxide and water. The oxidation continuously renews the soil beds adsorption capacity (see Figure 5.22.2). FIG. 5.22.1 Soil bed. A biofilter consists of a bed of soil or compost, beneath which is a network of perforated pipe. Contaminated air flows through the pipe and out the many holes in the sides of the pipe (enlarged detail), thereby being distributed throughout the bed. FIG. 5.22.1 Soil bed. A biofilter consists of a bed of soil or compost, beneath which is a network of perforated pipe. Contaminated air flows through the pipe and out the many...


Biofiltration is an odor control technology that uses a biologically active filter bed to treat odorous chemical compounds. Materials such as soil, leaf compost, peat, and wood chips can be used for the filter bed. The filter bed provides an environment for microorganisms to degrade and ultimately remove the odorous chemical compounds.

Exponential Growth

Many common fast-growing bacteria (e.g., Escherichia coli) can have generation times of only 20 minutes. A few, such as the thermophile Bacillus stearothermophilus (found, for example, in composting piles), grow even more rapidly, with minimum generation times of around 10 minutes. This is about 1,000,000 times faster than a typical human generation of approximately two decades

Franoise Bartiaux

During the mid-1990s, most Belgian municipalities and communes encouraged citizens to sort their household waste by providing them with new and varied facilities collection of recyclables, bottle banks, garbage scales, sensitization campaigns and so on. The change in behaviours was massive and rapid for example, in 2002, the rate of recycling of packaging waste was as high as 70 per cent in Belgium, while the mean for the fifteen former European Union member states was 54 per cent (EEA, 2005).1 The scope of this chapter is to analyse this behavioural change and its rationale by comparing household waste-sorting practices with other habits and criteria that are related to green shopping. Results obtained for Belgium are compared with results from other European countries, whether they come from research on household waste sorting and green shopping or from studies on other aspects of green consumerism such as shifting to organically grown food products or saving energy at home. This...


Ecology is associated with a political movement advocating government, business, and citizen involvement in taking responsibility for the ways that humans interact with life on earth. (Ecosystems Corbis) Composting garden waste. Ecology is associated with a political movement advocating government, business, and citizen involvement in taking responsibility for the ways that humans interact with life on earth. (Ecosystems Corbis)

Urban solid waste

Municipal household or domestic solid waste comprise most of the urban solid waste produced in Australia (42 per cent in 1994). The vast majority of domestic solid waste components, such as paper, organic compostable, plastic and glass, can all be re-used or effectively recycled (WMA 1990). Even smaller volume components such as household hazardous wastes, ferrous wastes and non-ferrous waste have ecologically sound alternatives or can be recycled very successfully, thus reducing the need for mining virgin materials (Ayres and Ayres 1999b WMA 1990). However, Australia's recycling rate is very low despite the ready availability of suitable materials, technology and public demand (WMA 1990 Moore and Tu 1996).


If you can't avoid using an item, and if you can't reuse it, the next best thing is to recycle it. Recycling is a form of reuse that requires changing or reprocessing an item or natural resource. If your city or town has a curbside recycling program, you already separate recyclables from the rest of your garbage. Materials that can be recycled include glass, metals, paper, plastics, and yard and kitchen waste.

Waste Flows

Reclamation of paper and cardboard by small entrepreneurs is highly organized in cities as diverse as Nairobi, Calcutta, Cairo and Beijing. Recycling is increasing in many countries, but much more remains to be done (see Chapter 44). In Denmark, taxes on many types of solid wastes have increased recycling to over 61 per cent of household waste generation. In the UK, landfill and aggregate taxes have been introduced to encourage recycling of potential wastes but only some 8 per cent of household waste was being recycled or composted in 1998 (UK Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions 1999). Some 53.6MMT of C& D waste are produced annually, but only some 5MMT per year of such materials are re-used for civil engineering and building construction. The potential, however, is not always matched by practical feasibility, within the context of both current standards specifications and geographical location, where low price and the cost of transport to areas of substantial...

The History of LCA

From 1975 through the early 1980s, as interest in these comprehensive studies waned because ofthe fading influence of the oil crisis, environmental concerns shifted to issues of hazardous and household waste management. However, throughout this time, REPAs and 'ecobalances' continued to be conducted and the methodology improved through a slow steam of about two studies per year, most of which focused on energy requirements. During this time, European interest grew with the establishment of an Environment Directorate (DG X1) by the European Commission. European LCA practitioners developed approaches parallel to those being used in the United States. Besides working to standardize pollution regulations throughout Europe, DG X1 issued the Liquid Food Container Directive in 1985, which charged member companies with monitoring the energy and raw materials consumption and solid waste generation of liquid food containers.

Mutual antagonism

A protective covering of compost, paper, bark chippings, cocoa shells, etc. spread over the ground to reduce evaporation, control weeds, enrich the soil, and protect against temperature fluctuations. Straw is used to keep soft fruits such as strawberries (Fragaria ananassa) clean and dry.

Degree Of Dryness

The more moisture the sludge contains, the more weight must be removed. If sludge is shredded and stored for use by the citizens, the moisture content at the time of removal is critical. If time permits and ample sand bed capacity exists, the operator can sometimes reduce the moisture content to as low as 50 . If heat drying is used prior to bagging, the sludge should be dried to at least 50 moisture. The same is true if composting is used as a pretreatment to bagging or use by citizens. However, if the sludge is taken to a landfill or farm, it can be removed with a moisture concentration as high as 70 to 80 .

Process Fundamentals

The factors affecting the composting process include oxygen and aeration, nutrients (C N ratio), moisture, porosity, structure, texture and particle size, pH, temperature, and time. These conditions are developed and maintained by process management. The following considerations are important for process management


Wastewater sludge is known to contain pathogens including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and helminths. Epstein and Donovan (1992) note that pathogens can be grouped under three major headings primary pathogens, secondary or opportunistic pathogens, and endotoxins. They further note that the major concerns with pathogens related to composting wastewater sludge are product disinfection, worker health, and public health as impacted by facility location. The U.S. EPA (1979 1993) in the previous 40 CFR Part 257 regulations and the new 40 CFR Part 503 regulations is primarily concerned with product quality and safety of the compost. The possible presence of pathogens is a major concern. The previous regulation for pathogen control was technology based. Under 40 CFR Part 257, minimum standards were issued for processes to significantly reduce pathogens (PSRP). Compost that had been subject to PSRP could be used but was limited to certain restrictions. The previous regulations also defined...


Composting is the process used by humans to break down organic solid wastes into materials that can be reused as soil amendments in agriculture or horticulture (Rech-cigl and MacKinnon, 1997). Organic wastes that are composted include food waste, sewage sludge, yard wastes, and animal manures. Principles of composting are well known and straightforward (Anonymous, 1991 Haug, 1980 Poincelot, 1974) and have been extensively reviewed, especially in the journals entitled Compost Science and Biocycle. One of the main authorities on technical aspects of composting has been Clarence Golueke (1977, 1991), who has approached the subject as a sanitary engineer. The primary objective in the design of composting systems is to maximize the decomposition rate of the organic wastes by control of limiting factors. Thus, the goals are to maintain moist, aerobic conditions that are insulated to retain heat and to allow access by decomposer organisms. A wide variety of systems are employed, ranging from...

Partial parasite

Peat Partially decomposed plant material that accumulates in waterlogged anaerobic conditions in temperate humid climates, often forming a layer several meters deep. Peat varies from a light spongy material (sphagnum moss) to a dense brown humidified material in the lower layers. If mineral salts are present in the waterlogged vegetation, neutral or alkaline fen peat is formed (the salts neutralize the acid produced by decomposition). If there are no mineral salts in the water (as in rain), acid bog peat is formed. Peat is used as a fuel and is the first step in coal formation. It is also used to improve soil and as a component of potting compost in horticulture. These uses have led to concern about the destruction of natural peat bogs. See also bog fen.

Sludge Treatment

The putrescible fraction of wastes can produce both nuisance (e.g., odor generation) and hazardous (e.g., hazardous gas generation, such as hydrogen sulfide) conditions, and a major goal of sludge treatment is stabilization with these putrescible materials. Digestion is a biochemical process by which stabilization can be achieved, such that physical reductions will then be realized in both the original solids mass and volume. Both anaerobic and aerobic digestion options are used with liquid-phase sludge processing systems, and aerobic digestion can also be completed in a more concentrated slurry- or solids-type mode using composting procedures.

Anaerobic Digestion

Although each of the alternative sludge digestion and composting processes have its own degree of metabolic complexity and operational peculiarities, anaerobic systems are widely regarded as the most difficult to maintain given the interlinked sensitivity of their biochemical pathways. Furthermore, where the aerobic options (i.e., aerobic digestion and composting) involve only an oxidative breakdown of the sludge solids and a single separation (liquid-solid) step, the anaerobic digestion process entails a sequential series of complex metabolic pathways and concluding separations of gas, liquid, and solid products. As a result, this digestion strategy has historically tended to require more attention and care while being more prone to upset. Conversely, though, there are a number of potential benefits to be gained with this technology. Most notably, the anaerobic digestion process tends to have a far lower energy demand (since it does not require aeration) at the same time, it can be...

Air Treatment

Biofiltration technology is, in fact, rather similar to that of the attached-growth media-filled biofilters (e.g., trickling filters) described earlier, although in this case the stream to be treated is that of contaminated air rather than wastewater. Similarly, the mode of construction and operation used for biofiltration columns is also comparable to that of bioso-lids composting using aerated piles, although with a goal of treating the incoming gas rather than a solid-phase (sludge) material blended into the pile.

Source and Effect

For practical purposes, the term waste includes any material that enters the waste management system. In this chapter, the term waste management system includes organized programs and central facilities established not only for final disposal of waste but also for recycling, reuse, composting, and incineration. Materials enter a waste management system when no one who has the opportunity to retain them wishes to do so.


Because microorganisms can metabolize paper, yard waste, food waste, and wood, this waste is classified as biodegradable. Disposable diapers and their contents are also largely biodegradable, as are cotton and wool textiles. Some biodegradable waste materials are more readily metabolized than others. The most readily metabolized materials are those with high nitrogen and moisture content food waste, grass clippings, and other green, pulpy yard wastes. These wastes are putrescible and have high bioavailability. Leaf waste generally has intermediate bioavailability. Wood, cotton and wool, although biodegradable, have relatively low bioavailability and are considered noncompostable within the context of solid waste management.

Bottle Bills

Bottle bills, while having achieved partial success, should be integrated into overall recycling programs, which include office paper and newspaper recycling, cardboard collection from commercial establishments, curbside recycling, establishment of buy-back recycling centers, wood waste and metal recycling, glass and bottle collection from bars and restaurants, and composting programs. Advertising and public education are important elements in the overall recycling strategy. Street signs, door hangers, utility-bill inserts, and phone book, bus, and newspaper advertisements are all useful. The most effective longrange form of public education is to teach school-children the habits of recycling.

Design Basis

Next, planners must determine what to burn. In keeping with the hierarchy of the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA), a state-of-the-art strategy provides for the maximum amount of source reduction and recycling, including composting, before incineration. Furthermore, materials that are not recyclable and are unsuitable for burning because they are noncombustible, explosive, or contain toxic substances or pollutant precursors, should be separated from the waste to be burned. These activities preserve natural resources, improve incinerator efficiency, and minimize pollutant emissions and ash quantity and toxicity.


As waste, mortars are normally inert and can be used as fill. Ground lime mortars can be used for soil improvement. Sulphur pollution can develop from gypsum waste because of microbial decomposition. Sulphur waste should be deposited at special dumps, preferably neutralized by adding lime.


In the United States, the landfill is the most popular disposal option for MSW. Traditionally, it has been the least-cost disposal option, and it is also a solid waste management necessity because no combination of reduction, recycling, composting, or incineration can currently manage the entire solid waste stream. Developing a new landfill involves site location, landfill design, site preparation, and landfill construction. Locating a new landfill can involve significant public participation. Federal regulations specify many location, design, operation, monitoring, and closure criteria. These regulations reduce the incidence of unacceptable pollution caused by landfills.

Cellulose products

Stains are fully open to vapour and therefore the full potential for moisture buffering in the underlayer can be utilized. Stains are also the least resource demanding treatments and they are relatively problem free in both production and use. Exceptions are water stains with metal salts added. These are usually toxic and can seep into the soil. The same can be said for the waste from these stains and they require special waste treatment. As far as the other products are concerned, re-use, recycling, composting and dumping are all relatively problem free. It is only the addition of poisonous pigments that reduce the quality of an otherwise very positive environmental profile.

Asset Specificity

Modern incinerators rank with nuclear power plants in having extreme asset specificity. These capital-intensive, immobile, highly optimized machines are very good at converting waste to energy, but they have little value for anything else. They are very risky investments in an uncertain world, and governments have stepped in to help investors manage these risks. In 1993, some 58 per cent of US incinerator throughput was tied to captive markets through the mechanism of flow control, and another 31 per cent was guaranteed under long-term contracts, many with put-or-pay clauses, guaranteeing revenues regardless of waste flows (USEPA Office of Solid Waste Management 1995). A majority of the remaining 11 per cent of throughput went to publicly owned facilities. The demise of flow control has left these facilities exposed to market risks, with the result that many have been tagged 'stranded investments', instruments used to finance them have been downgraded to junk bond status...


Aeration serves three interdependent functions of composting. Aeration adds stoichiometric oxygen for respiration, removes water vapor, and dissipates heat. Finstein and Hogan (1993) note that heat removal determines the rate of aeration and stress that this removal is important for process control. For proper pathogen removal, the temperature must reach at least 55 C. However, allowing a composting system to reach temperatures of 70 to 80 C is self-limiting, results in poor operation, and leads to the production of unstable compost.

Ultimate Composition

The ultimate composition of MSW on a dry basis reflects the dominance of six types of materials in MSW cellulose, lignins, fats, proteins, hydrocarbon polymers, and inorganic materials. Cellulose is approximately 42.5 carbon, 5.6 hydrogen, and 51.9 oxygen and accounts for the majority of the dry weight of MSW. The cellulose content of paper ranges from approximately 75 for low grades to approximately 90 for high-grade paper. Wood is roughly 50 cellulose, and cellulose is a major ingredient of yard waste, food waste, and disposable diapers. Cotton, the largest ingredient of the textile component of MSW, is approximately 98 cellulose (Masterton, Slowinski, and Stanitski 1981). The inorganic (noncombustible) waste categories contribute most of the ash in MSW. Additional ash is contributed by the inorganic components of combustible materials, including clay in glossy and high-grade paper, dirt in yard waste, bones and shells in food waste, asbestos in vinyl-asbestos floor coverings,...

Heat Value

The as-received heat value is roughly proportional to the percentage of waste that is combustible (i.e., neither moisture nor ash) and to the carbon content of the combustible fraction. The heat values of the plastics categories are highest because of their high carbon content, low ash content, and low-to-moderate moisture content. Paper categories have intermediate heat values because of their intermediate carbon content, moderate moisture content, and low-to-moderate ash content. Yard waste, food waste, and disposable diapers have low heat values because of their high moisture levels.

Moisture Management

Moisture management is an important part of composting. As stated previously, typically the initial moisture content of the sludge mixture is adjusted to about 60 . During the composting process, water is lost via evaporation. Water loss is driven by diffusion, air exchange, and heat generation. Some water can leach out of the mixture. Water is gained by precipitation (for uncovered systems) and as a product of respiration. In general, a net loss of water occurs. The final mixture has a moisture content of about 40 . As noted, both too high and too low levels are problems.


Plastics are strong, waterproof, lightweight, durable, mi-crowavable, and more resilient than glass. For these reasons they have replaced wood, paper, and metallic materials in packaging and other applications. Plastics generate toxic by-products when burned and are nonbiodegradable when landfilled they also take up 30 of landfill space even though their weight percentage is only 7 to 9 . Recent research has found that paper does not degrade in landfills either and because of compaction in the garbage truck and in the landfill, the original volume percentage of 30 in the kitchen waste basket is reduced 12 to 21 in the landfill. In addition, plastics foul the ocean and harm or kill marine mammals. Other problems include the toxic chemicals used in plastics manufacturing, the reliance on nonrenewable petroleum products as their raw material, and the blowing agents used in making polystyrene foam plastics, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which cause ozone depletion. CFCs are now...


The advantage of measuring quantity in terms of weight rather than volume is that weight is fairly constant for a given set of discarded objects, whereas volume is highly variable. Waste set out on the curb on a given day in a given neighborhood occupies different volumes on the curb, in the collection truck, on the tipping floor of a transfer station or composting facility, in the storage pit of a combustion facility, or in a landfill. In addition, the same waste can occupy different volumes in different trucks or landfills. Similarly, two identical demolished houses occupy different volumes if one is repeatedly run over with a bulldozer and the other is not. As these examples illustrate, the phrases a cubic yard of MSW and a cubic yard of bulky waste have little meaning by themselves the phrases a ton of MSW and a ton of bulky waste are more meaningful. Franklin Associates, Ltd., regularly estimates the quantity of MSW generated and disposed of in the United States under contract to...


Epa Recycling Bar Graph The 2016

Paper Used paper is recycled into paper towels, insulation, newsprint, cardboard, and stationery. Ranchers and dairy farmers sometimes use shredded paper instead of straw for bedding in barns and stables. Used paper can be made into compost. Recycling about one metric ton of paper saves 17 trees, more than 26,000 L of water, close to 1,900 L of oil, and more than 4,000 kW of electric energy. You can do your part by recycling newspapers, notebook and printer paper, cardboard, and junk mail. Compost Grass clippings, leaves, and fruit and vegetable scraps that are discarded in a landfill can remain there for decades without breaking down. The same items can be turned into soil-enriching compost in just a few weeks, as shown in Figure 23. Many communities distribute compost bins to encourage residents to recycle fruit and vegetable scraps and yard waste. Figure 23 Composting is a way of turning plant material you would otherwise throw away into rich garden soil. Dry leaves and weeds,...