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Optimization of organic waste home composting

Abstract : Within cities around the world, home composting can reduce the cost of disposing food waste (FW) and yard trimmings (YT). Besides reducing equipment and labour costs, home composting of organic waste eliminates its selective collection and mechanical processing, and reduces the fossil fuel required for these tasks as well as their resulting greenhouse gases. Nevertheless, the successful implementation of onsite composting depends on the active participation of households and the production of a safe soil amendment. The research objectives of the project were therefore to define the operational parameters which optimize the composting process and quality. The research work was first initiated in the laboratory, at the IRSTEA (formerly Cemagref) Research Centre, of Rennes, France, using typical home composting systems (HC) loaded with an organic waste mixture consisting of equal volumes of wet FW and YT. During this experiment, the ground pile, the slatted wood bin, the plastic bin and the rotary drum were compared using different management practices (batch versus weekly feeding, weekly mixed versus not mixed, and with or without wood chips as bulking agent, BA); home composter performance was compared in terms of dry matter (DM), carbon and nitrogen mass balance, and pathogen/parasite counts. These laboratory results were validated during a second experiment conducted with the collaboration of 5 households of Montreal, Canada, where slatted and top/bottom perforated plastic bins were normally loaded and operated by the residents during the summer, while being monitored for temperature, mass loading and compost quality. The laboratory results indicated that bin perforation had a significant impact on compost decomposition: concentrating the perforations at the top and bottom of the bin optimized convective aeration, but concentrated the decomposition at the bin bottom. Weekly mixing and good aeration also helped produce higher compost temperatures. Bulking agent addition retarded the composting process. Compost temperature regime and bin aeration or mixing had little effect on final compost quality and pathogen/parasite counts. For the experiment conducted with 5 households of Montreal, Canada, the best location for the home composter was found to be in a semi-shaded area. Once more, bins with perforations concentrated at their top and bottom produced the highest compost temperatures. Weekly loaded all bins did produce thermophilic temperatures, unless loaded with at least 10 kg of organic waste/week at over 15% DM. Despite compost temperatures seldom reaching thermophilic levels, pathogens were minimized in the final product with good bin aeration fostering a high level of organic waste degradation. To minimize the content of metals and toxic organics in the final product, the feed stock should be clean; the use of back yard herbicides and insecticides should be minimized.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-02597662
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Submitted on : Friday, May 15, 2020 - 10:51:52 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 27, 2021 - 3:30:51 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-02597662, version 1
  • IRSTEA : PUB00036684

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B. Adhikari, A. Trémier, S. Barrington. Optimization of organic waste home composting. ORBIT 2012, Jun 2012, Rennes, France. pp.9. ⟨hal-02597662⟩

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