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Home composting versus industrial composting: Influence of composting system on compost quality with focus on compost stability

2014 / Raquel Barrena, Xavier Font, Xavier Gabarrell, Antoni Sánchez

Waste Management Available online 1 March 2014

Abstract Stability is one of the most important properties of compost obtained from the organic fraction of municipal solid wastes. This property is essential for the application of compost to land to avoid further field degradation and emissions of odors, among others. In this study, a massive characterization of compost samples from both home producers and industrial facilities is presented. Results are analyzed in terms of chemical and respiration characterizations, the latter representing the stability of the compost. Results are also analyzed in terms of statistical validation. The main conclusion from this work is that home composting, when properly conducted, can achieve excellent levels of stability, whereas industrial compost produced in the studied facilities can also present a high stability, although an important dispersion is found in these composts. The study also highlights the importance of respiration techniques to have a reliable characterization of compost quality, while the chemical characterization does not provide enough information to have a complete picture of a compost sample. Keywords Home composting; Industrial composting; Compost quality; Respiration; Stability Highlights • Compost from several sources (municipal and domestic) has been analyzed. • A large number of samples is presented in terms of chemical characterization. • Compost has been extensively studied in terms of stability. • Results show that home composting can be a good alternative to manage biowaste. • Stability is correlated to the composting technology in industrial composts.