Making compost is both a science and an art.
Manufacturing compost harnesses nature’s ability to break down organic matter into soil using a complex orchestra of microorganisms that include many kinds of fungi, bacteria, and other tiny lifeforms. In order to create the most ideal living conditions for these workhorses, the appropriate temperatures and amounts of air and water must be provided.
In practical terms, composting can be produced through a number of different processes.
- Passive piles
- Turned windrow
- Aerated static pile
- Hybrid systems
The USCC’s Compost – How it is produced web page goes into additional detail on composting manufacturing processes.
The process chosen for composting will be based on many factors including:
- Types and quantities of feedstock (what material will be composted?)
- Local laws and regulations (zoning laws and other rules could affect the type of technology chosen)
- Location and proximity to neighboring properties (is the site co-located with a landfill or in an urban neighborhood?) USCC directory of State Compost Regulations
- Existing equipment (does the municipality already own equipment that can be used at the site?) See the USCC equipment guide for more information.
- Budget (different technologies require different amounts of capital)
- Number of personnel and knowledge base (who will be running the facility and what experience do they have?) The USCC can help with this in many ways, including through their job posting page: https://www.compostingcouncil.org/networking/opening_search.asp