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Concept: Home composting


The efficiency of home composting programmes and the quality of the produced compost was evaluated in eight rural areas carrying out home composting programmes (up to 880 composting bins) for all household biowaste including meat and fish leftovers. Efficiency was analysed in terms of reduction of organic waste collected by the municipal services. An efficiency of 77% on average was obtained, corresponding to a composting rate of 126kg/person·year of biowaste (or 380kg/composter·year). Compost quality was determined for a total of 90 composting bins. The operation of composting bins by users was successful, as indicated by a low C/N ratio (10-15), low inappropriate materials (or physical contaminant materials, mean of 0.27±0.44% dry matter), low heavy metal content (94% of samples met required standards for agricultural use) and high nutrient content (2.1% N, 0.6% P, 2.5% K, 0.7% Mg and 3.7% Ca on average, dry matter). The high moisture (above 70% in 48% of the samples) did not compromise the compost quality. Results of this study show that home composting of household organic waste including meat and fish leftovers is a feasible practice. Home composting helps individuals and families to reduce the amount of household waste at the same time gaining a fertiliser material (compost) of excellent quality for gardens or vegetable plots.

Concepts: Agriculture, Waste management, Heavy metal music, Biodegradable waste, Compost, Composting, Vermicompost, Home composting


This article presents the experimental study of the process of composting in a prototype home-scale system with a special focus on process improvement by using different additives (i.e. woodchips, perlite, vermiculite and zeolite). The interventions with different bulking agents were realized through composting cycles using substrates with 10% additives in specific mixtures of kitchen waste materials. The pre-selected proportion of the mixtures examined was 3:1:1 in cellulosic:proteins:carbohydrates, in order to achieve an initial C/N ratio equal to 30. The control of the initial properties of the examined substrates aimed at the consequent improvement of the properties of the final product (compost). The results indicated that composting process was enhanced with the use of additives and especially the case of zeolite and perlite provided the best results, in terms of efficient temperature evolution (>55 °C for 4 consecutive days). Carbon to nitrogen ratios decreased by 40% from the initial values for the reactors were minerals were added, while for the bioreactor tested with woodchips the reduction was slight, showing slowest degradation rate. Moisture content of produced compost varied within the range of 55-64% d.m., while nutrient content (K, Na, Ca, Mg) was in accordance with the limit values reported in literature. Finally, the composts obtained, exhibited a satisfactory degree of maturity, fulfilling the criterion related to the absence of phytotoxic compounds.

Concepts: Waste management, Recycling, Waste, Compost, Composting, Vermicompost, Food waste, Home composting


One of the most undesired wastes is the human excreta due to the socio-environmental pressure. Otherwise, the nutriments contained in human excreta could be used as fertilizers to enrich the soil. Familial waterless litter composting toilets (FWLCT) are an alternative for locations where a centralized sewerage network cannot be provided or where there is a lack of standard urban infrastructure including roads, electricity, and water supply. The scientific researches on the composting techniques, the methods of control of the composting processors, and the rate of produced leachate are very limited. In this research, the composting systems included a feces and urine collection device. In each passage, the litter (carbonaceous material) is added to the excreta. Regularly, the buckets were emptied into a composting device located outside the house to which an additional portion of carbonaceous materials can be added. Monitoring was carried out on five rural and one urban familial composting areas in France for 1.5 years. The physiochemical and microbiological properties of the compost and leachate have been monitored and measured in compliance with the protocols. The results show that one of the main problems of this system of human excreta treatment is that the composting process does not achieve a significant rise in temperature and does not allow reaching the optimum temperatures (> 50 °C). Otherwise, from an agronomic point of view, the obtained compost is not rich enough in nutriments to be a good compost as soil fertilizer. But it can be used as a soil conditioner. The average leachate flux from the composters is 1.79 L/day. Because of the very short stay time in the piles, the leachate is contaminated by harmful bacteria and should be treated by another sanitation system.

Concepts: Fertilizer, Landfill, Compost, Composting, Manure, Composting toilet, Humanure, Home composting


The study investigated the effect of in-vessel composting process on Hanwoo manure in two different South Korea regions (Pyeongchang and Goechang) with sawdust using vertical cylindrical in-vessel bioreactor for 42days. The stability and quality of Hanwoo manure in both regions were improved and confirmed through the positive changes in physico-chemical and phytotoxic properties using different commercial seed crops. The pH and electrical conductivity (EC, ds/m) of composted manure in both regions were slightly increased. At the same time, carbon:nitrogen (C:N) ratio and ammonium nitrogen:nitrate nitrogen (NH4(+)-N:NO3(-)-N) ratio decreased to 13.4-16.1 and 0.36-0.37, respectively. The germination index (GI, %) index was recorded in the range of 67.6-120.9%, which was greater than 50%, indicating phytotoxin-free compost. Although, composted manure values in Goechang region were better in significant parameters, overall results confirmed that the composting process could lead to complete maturation of the composted product in both regions.

Concepts: Agriculture, Humus, Compost, Composting, Vermicompost, Mulch, In-vessel composting, Home composting


Disposal of animal manure without treatment can be harmful to the environment. In this study, samples of four zoo animal dungs and one horse dung were pre-composted in two ways: (a) traditional composting and (b) bokashi pre-composting for 1month, followed by vermicomposting for 3months. The permanence (PEf) and reproductive potential (RP) of Eisenia foetida as well as the quality of vermicompost were evaluated. The PEf values and RP index of E. foetida were higher for samples pre-composted using the traditional composting method (98.7-88% and 31.85-16.27%, respectively) followed by vermicomposting (92.7-72.7% and 22.96-13.51%, respectively), when compared with those for bokashi pre-composted samples followed by vermicomposting, except for the horse dung sample (100% for both the parameters). The values of electrical conductivity (EC), cation exchange capacity (CEC), organic C, total N, available P, C/N ratio, and pH showed that both treatments achieved the norms of vermicompost (<4mScm(-1), 40cmolkg(-1), 20-50%, 1-4%, ≤20, 5.5-8.5, respectively). However, the maturity indices of vermicompost, namely, organic matter loss, N loss, and CEC/organic carbon (OC) ratio indicated that bokashi pre-composting followed by vermicomposting produced the highest values (98.7-70.7%, 97.67-96.65%, and 2.7-1.97%, respectively), when compared with the other method adapted in this study. Nevertheless, further studies with plants for plant growth evaluation are needed to assess the benefits and limitations of these two pre-composting methods prior to vermicomposting.

Concepts: Earthworm, Humus, Compost, Composting, Organic fertilizer, Cation exchange capacity, Vermicompost, Home composting


Sewage sludge derived biochar (SSDB) was used as a supplementary material for municipal sewage sludge (SS) and wood chips mixtures (WC) treated by combined composting and vermicomposting. SSDB added to the mixture before composting resulted in significantly higher reproduction rate: on week 4 the number of cocoons increased by 213% when compared to the mixture with no biochar. On week 6 the average number of juveniles increased 11-fold in the mixture with biochar added before composting and 5-fold in the mixtures with biochar added after composting when compared to the mixture with no biochar. Biochar added before composting reduced bioavailability of Cd and Zn to E. fetida. The biochar-added vermicomposts showed good fertilizing properties except for elevated concentrations of Cr. The pH of all vermicomposts was in the range of 5.27-5.61. The obtained vermicomposts can be used as a growing medium for horticultural purposes or as an amendment in calcareous soils.

Concepts: Sewage, Wastewater, Sludge, Compost, Composting, Vermicompost, Home composting, Biosolids


The main objective of the present study was to determine the optimum C/N ratio for converting waste paper and chicken manure to nutrient-rich manure with minimum toxicity. Six treatments of C/N ratio 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 (T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, and T6, respectively) achieved by mixing chicken manure with shredded paper were used. The study involved a composting stage for 20 days followed by vermicomposting with Eisenia fetida for 7 weeks. The results revealed that 20 days of composting considerably degraded the organic waste mixtures from all treatments and a further 7 weeks of vermiculture significantly improved the bioconversion and nutrient value of all treatments. The C/N ratio of 40 (T3) resulted in the best quality vermicompost compared to the other treatments. Earthworm biomass was highest at T3 and T4 possibly due to a greater reduction of toxic substances in these waste mixtures. The total N, total P, and total K concentrations increased with time while total carbon, C/N ratio, electrical conductivity (EC), and heavy metal content gradually decreased with time during the vermicomposting process. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed the intrastructural degradation of the chicken manure and shredded paper matrix which confirmed the extent of biodegradation of treatment mixtures as result of the composting and vermicomposting processes. Phytotoxicity evaluation of final vermicomposts using tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), radish (Raphanus sativus), carrot (Daucus carota), and onion (Allium cepa) as test crops showed the non-phytotoxicity of the vermicomposts to be in the order T3 > T4 > T2 > T1 > T5 > T6. Generally, the results indicated that the combination of composting and vermicomposting processes is a good strategy for the management of chicken manure/paper waste mixtures and that the ideal C/N ratio of the waste mixture is 40 (T3).

Concepts: Scanning electron microscope, Carrot, Earthworm, Compost, Composting, Biodegradable waste management, Vermicompost, Home composting


Although it is widely agreed that stocking density critically affects the rate of vermicomposting, there is no established stocking density for mixtures of fly ash and other waste materials. This study sought to optimize (Savigny, 1826) stocking density for effective biodegradation and nutrient release in a fly ash-cow dung-waste paper (FCP) mixture. Four stocking densities of 0, 12.5, 25, and 37.5 g worms kg were evaluated. Although the 12.5, 25, and 37.5 g worms kg treatments all resulted in a mature vermicompost, stocking densities of 25 and 37.5 g worms kg resulted in faster maturity, higher humification parameters, and a significantly lower final C/N ratio (range 11.1-10.4). The activity of β-glucosidase and fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis enzymes showed faster stabilization at stocking densities of 25 and 37.5 g worms kg, indicating compost stability and maturity. Similarly, a stocking density of 25 g worms kg resulted in the highest release of Olsen-extractable P and (NO + NO)-N contents. The 0-, 12.5-, 25-, and 37.5-g treatments resulted in net Olsen P increases of 16.3, 38.9, 61.0, and 53.0%, respectively, after 10 wk. Although compost maturity could be attained at stocking densities of 12.5 g worms kg, for faster production of humified and nutrient-rich FCP vermicompost, a stocking density of 25 g worms kg seems most appropriate.

Concepts: Density, Kilogram, Iridium, Waste, Compost, Composting, Vermicompost, Home composting


Vermicompost was prepared by five different treatments from relatively resistant coconut husk mixed with either pig slurry or poultry manure. The recovery of vermicompost varied from 35% to 43% and it resulted in significant increase in pH, microbial biomass carbon, macro and micro nutrients concentration. Among the treatments highest relative N (1.6) and K (1.3) recovery were observed for 20% feedstock substitution by pig slurry while poultry manure substitution recorded highest P recovery (2.4). Compost maturity parameters significantly differed and well correlated. The characteristics of different treatments established the maturity indices as C/N 15-20; Cw<1.8; Cw/Norg<0.55; Lignin<10-12; CHA/CFA>1.5 and HI>15.0. The manurial value of the coconut husk compost was improved by feedstock substitution with pig slurry (80:20). The results revealed the technical feasibility of converting coconut husk into valuable compost by feedstock substitution with pig slurry.

Concepts: Nutrient, Relative, Micronutrient, Compost, Composting, Organic fertilizer, Vermicompost, Home composting


A mixture of pig manure and maize straw was vermicomposted with Eisenia fetida or naturally composted for 60 days; basic parameters, heavy metal variation, dissolved organic matter (DOM) content, and its characterization were determined, aiming to explore different dynamics of DOM characterization and heavy metal variation during composting or vermicomposting. The results showed that vermicomposting led to higher pH, TC, and available P but lower EC, TN, available N, and available K in the substrate residues compared with natural composting; the total or available Cu/Zn content in the substrate residues similarly increased after composting or vermicomposting, but Cu was easily enriched in earthworm bodies and its intestinal vermicompost while vermicomposting enhanced the formation of dissolved Zn in DOM; moreover, much more fulvic and humic acid-like materials and much greater aromaticity were exhibited in DOM obtained from vermicomposting residues compared with DOM from composting residues, which may contribute to the variations of Cu/Zn enrichment in earthworms and its migration to the vermicomposting residues or its DOM.

Concepts: Soil, Heavy metal music, Earthworm, Humus, Compost, Composting, Vermicompost, Home composting