How is Compost Produced?
How is Compost Produced?

Compost – How is it Produced?

There are a few ways to produce compost, among them being: windrow, in-vessel, aerated static pile, backyard 3-bin system, and vermicomposting. Keep reading below for some more information about each.

Shredding Feedstocks

Material such as yard waste that is being prepared to be composted first gets shredded in a machine.  Once the yard waste has been shredded, it will compost more quickly. If someone accidentally threw a glass bottle or plastic bag into their yard waste bin at home, at this stage the glass shatters and the plastic bag shreds into many pieces or tangles in the machine.  Unfortunately it is difficult to remove these materials once they have gone through the shredder.  Remember only organics in the compost bin! 

Windrow

Windrow composting is a method of generating compost by piling organic waste in long rows.  This is the most common method of composting in the US. Their several different ways that windrows are formed, spaced and turned. This is dependent on the site design, land use and available equipment.

In-Vessel

As its name suggests, the “in-vessel” method involves feeding organic materials into a vessel (drum, silo, concrete-lined trench) and then aerating the materials by mechanically turning them or mixing in wood chips or shredded newspaper. This method doesn’t take up as much space and it works with a variety of organic wastes. Some in-vessel systems are aerated with a blower system and the exhausted air is vented to a biofilter. Some of these smaller systems to do not produce a finished compost. Further curing is necessary.

Aerated Static Pile

This compost generating method involves mixing organic waste in a large pile and providing air pore space in the pile by adding wood chips, shredded newspaper or other bulking agents. Aeration is provided by a blower system. Most systems have a thermocouple feedback to turn aeration on or off based on temperature. These systems can be negative (pulling air) or positive (pushing air) aeration. This method of composting can speed up the composting process and can work with large quantities of materials.

Backyard 3-bin system

The backyard 3-bin system separates different stages of waste – fresh, semi-formed compost, and mature compost – into 3-bins. This differentiation process prevents improper mixing and allows you to have mature ready-to-use compost throughout the year.

Vermicomposting

This method of composting employs the efforts of red worms to feed on food scraps, yard trimmings, and other waste to generate compost. Their waste – known as castings – can be used as potting soil and as high-quality fertilizer for gardens and houseplants.

Final Screening

Once compost is finished composting, next it is loaded into a machine to sift out larger sized material.  The larger material goes back into the compost pile.  The sifted material goes into a pile for its final curing, to prepare it for sale.