In addition to conventional backyard composting that processes household garden clippings and kitchen scraps, commercial composting facilities are increasing in popularity due to their ability to repurpose large volumes of municipal and commercial waste. Among various benefits, industrial composting decreases community-produced greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously enhancing local economies and food systems.

There are three primary techniques used in industrial composting: aerated static pile, in-vessel and windrow composting.

Aerated Static Pile Composting (ASP)

Aerated Static Pile (ASP)  is an accelerated aerobic process conducted by pushing or pulling air through the composting material. Organic waste is mixed with bulking agents into large piles to allow air to pass from the bottom to the top of the material. Once the material is mixed and placed, it begins processing by a network of pipes underneath that forces air in or sucks it out of the pile.

Benefits: ASP composting expedites the pathogen reduction process due to its temperature, moisture and oxygen regulating capabilities. Conveniently, ASP is relatively space-sufficient and actively assists in odour control.

In-Vessel Composting (IVC)

In-Vessel Composting (IVC) occurs in an enclosed system, such as a drum, silo, or concrete-lined trench that varies in size and capacity. IVC enables the regulation of microbial activity by controlling environmental conditions such as temperature, moisture and airflow. Airflow is introduced by mechanically turning or mixing the in-vessel system. Once the material has reached sufficient microbial activity and temperature, it is transferred to a curing pad for the final composting stage. In-vessel composting is a lengthier process than ASP composting due to the absence of forced airflow.

Benefits: In-Vessel composting provides nearly complete control of the composting process. The material is contained within a vessel, undisturbed by its surrounding environment, resulting in less volatility and a consistent finished product.

Windrow Composting

Window Composting is the most common and widely known processing method. Windrow composting is an open-air process that places the waste material into elongated piles of varying heights and widths. Windrows are turned manually or with a mechanical turner to introduce air into the pile and ensure that all the material spends time in the warmest, most moist portion of the windrow. Depending on the needs of the native climate, windrow piles can be watered to increase moisture levels and promote material breakdown.

Windrow composting is the lengthiest of the three industrial composting techniques used primarily for leaf and yard waste to help control odour.

Benefits: Windrow composting is simple to operate, cost-effective, and requires very little infrastructure.

The Bigger Picture

Industrial composting can service large geographic locations and divert significant volumes from being buried in landfills. Rather than discarded, waste materials can be repurposed using different composting techniques to promote organic growth and reclaim eroded, processed, and infertile soils.

Why is soil reclamation so important? Soil degradation occurs due to natural erosion, urbanization and industrial activity. Soil Reclamation is the process of returning fertility, minerals, nutrients, bacteria, organisms and moisture into disturbed, unproductive land. Re-introducing critical growing factors restores the productivity, ecological integrity and economic value of the landscape.

About NutriGrow

NutriGrow is Western Canada’s largest manufacturer and bulk distributor of amended soils, composts, and mulches. NutriGrow has been manufacturing premium products since 2010. Rich in colour and nutrients, NutriGrow’s products are improving soil health, stability, and productivity across British Columbia.

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