ORBIT e.V.

The relevance of moisture control in organic municipal Solid waste windrow composting process

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Courtesy of ORBIT e.V.

The valorisation of the Municipal Solid Waste composting fraction assumes importance in management strategies of the MSW and constitutes a way of producing an organic material such as humus to improve the soil aeration, the water holding capacity and valuable product when used as soil amendment because it is a source of nutrients (N, P, K) and useful for recovery of poor and degraded soils.

It is necessary to refer that the organic fraction treated by composting becomes stable and it’s not responsible for polluted emissions, as those that are produced when the treatment is carried out in a different way, mainly in landfills or even by incineration, demanding sophisticated and efficient ways of treatment and drying, normally very expensive.

Several factors are responsible for this as they influence the composting process. Some of them are more controllable than others, therefore they depend on the characteristics of the material to compost. They affect the composting process, namely oxygen content, temperature, moisture, pH, pile porosity and intrinsic characteristics of the material. From these factors, the moisture assumes relevant importance, because it can be limiting for the process. If there is not enough water the microbial metabolism does not take place, whereas excess can change the biological process, enhancing the anaerobic degradation and even putrefaction

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