NC State Extension

Large-Scale Composting

This site is about composting organic materials on a large scale at municipal, farm, or commercial facilities.


Turning Problems into Profits

compost machineIn the early 1990’s, most public officials and business owners thought of organic waste materials such as yard trimmings, food scraps, and sludge as a problem they had to dispose of. But now, more often, public agencies and entrepreneurs are turning this former problem into a profit with environmental benefits.


Composting Basics

compostlarge-8Composting is the aerobic decomposition of organic materials by micro-organisms under controlled conditions into a soil-like substance called compost. During composting, microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi break down complex organic compounds into simpler substances and produce carbon dioxide, water, minerals, and stabilized organic matter (compost). The process produces heat, which can destroy pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) and weed seeds.


Types of Composting Facilities

Composting facilities are aerated or unaerated and covered or not covered. Composting methods include passive piles, windrows, static piles, and in-vessel composting (in bins, beds, silos, transportable containers, and rotating drums).


Resources

Publications

compost food platesInternet Resources

  • Cornell Composting -On-farm Composting Handbook
  • Cornell Waste Management
  • ATTRA
    • Farm-scale Composting Resource list
    • Industrial Park Composting Options