Performance of locally available bulking agents in Newfoundland and Labrador during bench-scale municipal solid waste composting

Kazemi, Khoshrooz and Zhang, Baiyu and Lye, Leonard and Lin, Weiyun (2014) Performance of locally available bulking agents in Newfoundland and Labrador during bench-scale municipal solid waste composting. Environmental Systems Research, 3 (22). ISSN 2193-2697

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Background: Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) has one of the highest waste disposal rates in Canada and it has 200 small communities without access to central composting facilities. During Municipal solid waste (MSW) composting, the selection of bulking agents is critical. Bench-scale composting systems plus locally available bulking agents are thus desired for economic and effective MSW management in NL communities. This study evaluated the performance of locally available bulking agents (i.e., NL sawdust and peat) during MSW composting in a bench-scale system. Physiochemical (temperature, oxygen uptake rate, pH, electrical conductivity, moisture and ash content, and C/N ratio) and biological (enzyme activities and germination index) parameters were monitored to evaluate compost maturity and stability. Results: In peat composting, higher temperature for a longer duration was observed, indicating more effective pathogen removal and sterilization. High enzyme activities of dehydrogenase, β-glucosidase, and phosphodiesterase in the third week of composting imply high microbial activity and high decomposition rate. The low C/N ratio for compost product implies acceptable stability states. In sawdust composting, higher temperature and oxygen uptake rate (OUR) were observed in the third week of composting, and higher enzyme activities in the second week. Sawdust composting generated a higher germination index, indicating higher maturity. Conclusions: Both sawdust and peat are effective bulking agents for the bench-scale composting. The choice of a bulking agent for a particular community depends on the availability of the agent and land in the region, convenience of transportation, price, and the expected quality of the compost product.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 8263
Additional Information: Memorial University Open Access Author's Fund
Keywords: Municipal solid waste (MSW), Bench-scale composting, Sawdust, Peat, Newfoundland and Labrador
Department(s): Engineering and Applied Science, Faculty of
Date: 26 July 2014
Date Type: Publication
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