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Why Indoor Bulk Commercial Compost Yields a Better Product that is Better for the Environment

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Indoor Bulk Commercial Compost Facility
Indoor Bulk Commercial Compost Facility

Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2016
By: J.P. Mascaro & Sons
Categories: Main Category

The process of commercial composting produces a variety of undesirable byproducts unless facilitated responsibly in a state-of-the-art indoor facility.

By now, most of us have a good grasp on the features, benefits and methods of composting our own food scraps and yard waste at home. It is an environmentally-responsible behavior that provides a useful product for our gardens, and is a great lesson to pass on to our children. But what about composting on a large scale?

When it comes to large-scale organic waste materials like grass clippings, food scraps, and sludge generated by municipalities and large businesses, officials and business owners a decade ago considered these a problematic nuisance worthy only of the landfill. Over the years, public agencies and entrepreneurs have turned the former problem into a profit by building bulk commercial composting facilities.

Biosolids from wastewater treatments plants along with community food waste are combined with wood chips and other compostable organic materials and transformed into a safe, useable fertilizer that is rich in natural plant nutrients. This product is used by landscapers, soil blenders and agricultural users to enrich soil. Community benefits from this natural biological process include the agricultural products grown from the enriched soil, beautifully-landscaped parks and recreation areas, reduced reliance on chemical fertilizers, and diminished waste going into landfills.

However, if not designed and operated responsibly, these operations create a new host of byproducts that are unfriendly to the environment, and (perhaps similar to some distant relatives) are outright visually and odoriferously offensive to the surrounding community.

The process of commercial composting generally involves the creation of long, narrow piles called windrows which can be as wide and as high as 12’. Often times, these piles are placed directly on the ground surface and remain uncovered. Referred to as passive piles, this is the simplest and most inexpensive method of composting, allowing piles to decompose over a long period of time with little management. Disadvantages of this method include:

  • Overheating – Temperatures inside of compost piles reach in excess of 140 degrees F. If the piles are not properly managed, they can spontaneously combust. 
  • Can You Smell That Smell? – In addition to the inherent undesirable bouquet that accompanies sewage sludge, liquid manure, and fish wastes often gathered from municipalities for composting; if proper amounts of oxygenation are not maintained with the compost piles, they become anaerobic, causing the excessive release of even more offensive odors if you can imagine. 
  • Groundwater Contamination – Nasty water (no, not the scientific term but use your imagination based on the aforementioned ingredients) that is released as a natural process of the composting gets washed into the ground every time it rains, at risk of contaminating your drinking water. 
  • Unsightly – Passive piles take longer to compost and can remain an unattractive and undesirable blemish on the landscape for over a year at a time. 

Fortunately for the benefit of our greater aromatic senses and our desire to preserve uncontaminated groundwater for our children, there are responsible and conscientious companies practicing environmentally-safe composting of organic waste for beneficial reuse.

State-of-the-art indoor composting facilities fully contain the composting process and all of its byproducts from beginning to end. Responsible indoor composting is clean, efficient and environmentally sound, managing odor, noise, and dust within the confines of the structure. The roof, walls and floor protect air and groundwater, while allowing for year-around controlled composting.

  • All processes of composting, loading and unloading of materials are performed indoors. 
  • All air exiting the building passes through a biofiltration system that removes odors. 
  • Water produced as part of the composting process is collected for proper treatment. 
  • Windrows are active, forcing air through the compost to safely produce a better, more uniform product in less time while controlling oxygen levels and heat buildup. 
Commercial composting will always be a dirty, smelly business. But when enacted responsibly in a technologically-advanced, fully-contained indoor location; the process is safe, clean, unobtrusive and enormously-beneficial to the community and to the sustainability of our environment.

 

 

Tagged:Green, Sustainability, Compost, Composting, Organic, Wastewater, Biosolids, Compostable, Food scraps, Organic waste, Grass clippings

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