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The Composting Process

Composting Management

See The Composting Process [PDF] to learn more about composting bio-chemistry including: key process parameters (Table 1) and a schematic and simple mass balance of the composting process (Figure 1) - authored by 2cg Environmental Consulting Services of Calgary, Ontario.

The following is an excerpt from The Composting Process [PDF] authored by 2cg Environmental Consulting Services:

"Composting has been at the forefront of the diversion and processing of organic wastes. This is because it is a relatively simple and robust process. It can be implemented as a small open windrow type facility through to a large facility that uses a sophisticated in-vessel technology. It can be used for a diverse array of organic wastes including food wastes, leaf and yard wastes, biosolids and industrial sludges.

Most simply composting is a managed aerobic (i.e. in the presence of oxygen) microbial process that breaks down organic wastes into compost.

The process is focused on breaking down or decomposing those parts of the waste stream that are most easy to decompose. This includes sugars, starches, fats and proteins. At the end of the process all that is left are the parts of the waste stream that are more resistant to composting. Composting is said to stabilize waste. This means that the resultant compost will continue to break down but at a very slow rate.

A key advantage of the composting process is that its high temperature essentially kills all pathogens and weed seeds that might be found in wastes.

Bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes are the microorganisms responsible for the composting process. While they all play different roles they have essentially the same requirements. Composting is about creating a suitable environment for the microorganisms."

- from The Composting Process [PDF] authored by 2cg Environmental Consulting Services

To learn about composting at UMass Amherst, please refer to The UMass Composting System. You may also contact us with any questions.