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COMPOSTING

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Source Separated
Organics
Reception at Site
Shredder
Mixer
Technology
Option
Windrows
(Low Tech)
Tunnel Composting
(High Tech)
Maturation
Trommel Screen
Compost
Module 1: Pre-Treatment

Size and shape --- Important in determining microbial activity and airflow within the compost pile:

  • Shredding / grinding / mixing of the feedstock is preferable as a pretreatment step
  • Smaller particle size will result in greater surface area and provide microbes with greater access to their substrate
  • However, if particle size is too small, airflow within will be restricted (anaerobic conditions).

Porosity --- Aids in maintaining aerobic conditions, and increases airflow:

  • Particles with uniform and smooth texture can settle and compact, preventing airflow as well as microbial access to substrate
  • Preferable to include coarser material such as wood chips to increase the void fraction.
Module 2: Active Composting
  • Microbially mediated, controlled decomposition process.
  • Degradation of organic matter into a stable, homogeneous humus-like substance, called compost.
  • Compost can be used as a soil conditioner or soil amendment.
  • Salient requirements for achieving a good break down of organic matter are moisture, oxygen, nutrients and a suitable particle size.
  • Mass reductions of up to 50% and volume reductions of up to 80% can be achieved, as volatile solids in the organic matter get destroyed and exit as CO2.
  • 1 tonne of source-separated organics produces approximately 0.5 tonnes of compost.
Module 3: Curing
  • Hot batch compost needs to be cured, finished off, seasoned before use, allowing partly decomposed compost particles to finish the composting process at a low temperature. Earthworms and other invertebrates will assist with this process.
  • Finished compost will no longer heat up, even after mixing.
  • The initial ingredients are no longer recognizable, and what is left is an earthy smelling substance similar to a rich organic soil.

Composting Training

Paul van der Werf, a Canadian compost expert, met with Reciclo Orgánicos team to share his experience with the implementation of municipal composting plants.

During his visit, he participated in an interactive meeting with the different SUBDERE offices in Chile, where he highlighted the main benefits of composting, as well as the best applicable technologies and successful examples.

In this video Paul presents an introduction to the composting process and the benefits of it.

Part 2 continues with the technologies commonly used in composting plants and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Part 3 ends with an introduction to the uses and markets of compost.

Additionally, Paul van der Werf led a field training in the commune of Santa Juana and Talcahuano.

Reciclo Orgánicos OTHER projects