Analysis of a Composting Facility

The composting process is a complex interaction between the waste and the microorganisms within the waste. The microorganisms that carry out this process fall into three groups: bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetesActinomycetes are a form of fungi-like bacteria that break down organic matter.

The first stage of the biological activity is the consumption of easily available sugars by bacteria, which causes a fast rise in temperature. The second stage involves bacteria and actinomycetes that cause cellulose breakdown. The last stage is concerned with the breakdown of the tougher lignins by fungi.


The composting process occurs when biodegradable waste is piled together with a structure allowing for oxygen diffusion and with a dry matter content suiting microbial growth. The temperature of the biomass increases due to the microbial activity and the insulation properties of the piled material. The temperature often reaches 650C to 750C within a few days and then declines slowly. This high temperature in composting hastens the elimination of pathogens and weed seeds.

Insights into a Composting Facility

A typical composting plant consist of some or all of the following technical units: bag openers, magnetic and/or ballistic separators, sieves, shredders, mixing and homogenization equipment, turning equipment, aeration systems, bio-filters, scrubbers, control systems etc.

Composting costs include site acquisition and development, regulatory compliance, facility operations, and marketing of the finished product. Additional requirements may include land for buffers around the compost facility, site preparation, and handling equipment such as shredders, screens, conveyors, and turners. Facilities and practice to control odors, leachate, and runoff are a critical part of any compost operation.


Composting Facility in Vancouver

The cost of constructing and operating a windrow composting facility will vary from one location to another. The operating costs depend on the volume of material processed. The use of additional feed materials, such as paper and mixed municipal solid waste, will require additional capital investment and materials processing labor.

The capital costs of windrow or aerated piles are lower than in-vessel composting configuration. However, costs increase markedly when cover is required to control odors. In general, costs of windrow systems are the lowest compared to the other two techniques. The in-vessel system is more costly than other methods, mainly with respect to capital expenditures. In addition, it is more mechanized and more equipment maintenance is necessary; however, it tends to be less labor-intensive.

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About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at or

6 Responses to Analysis of a Composting Facility

  1. Mohamed Sarifdeen Rakeeb says:

    As the Middle East region has good potential for producing compost, more concern and more priority should be given. Country like Qatar moving towards greenery to mitigate the climate change, can take more steps promote compost at municipality level . in order to initiate this action, there should be a waste management plan to segregate MSW at source. The government and relevant NGOs should work together to use waste as resource for the future generation.

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  6. Dannis Omondi says:

    I am intrigued by your compost projects. I have a similar proposal for coming up with biocompost plant of slaughterhouse waste in Western Kenya(kisumu) using black sodier fly culture. I would really appreciated some insight in designing and coming up with the facility

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