This is the best video showing how a commercial composting facility handles their stuff.
Keep in mind this is a $20 million facility complete with 2 ton Goretex tarps and capacity of 500+ tons a day. Wow. I know of a few customers of theirs that are quite happy with their stuff, and I’ve been a recipient of their finished product and we saw how that did…remember?
One thing that I always wonder about…how can they tell if their wood waste contains creosote or CCA, or was formerly used in phytoremedial projects? Would the critters in the pile break down that nasty stuff? Compost is a cheaper disposal route per ton than the landfill for most (within proximity to a facility, of course)… so wouldn’t that tempt more unnecessary waste going to this place without care if it’s compostable and/or non-toxic? Gross thought.
I guess that’s sadly not much different than sending the same toxic stuff to a landfill, to leach out in due time into the water table (which does happen, and landfill liners are actually permitted to leak quite a bit).
I guess it always comes back to toxins in, toxins out, doesn’t it?
How long does the composting process take? How do you know when it’s finished?
These are two questions that have so many variables that it’s hard to answer succinctly.
You can expect 6 weeks as a quicker (and not normal) turnaround time, but more like several months and up to a year, depending on how often the material is turned, how shredded the content is, how balanced the pile is, etc.
To know when it’s finished is to look at it and not recognize anything in there. I like to run my finished material through a sieve to check and make sure i don’t have anything else lurking in there somewhere…it can happen.
In the video above, Tia talks about this and shows us what some finished material looks like. It should smell good, too.
I can’t believe I never heard of this guy before. If you live somewhere that has kudzu and manure nearby, I suggest paying close attention to this dude. He has good insights on his material selection, like why you should use cow manure instead of horse manure (although either works), or when to use straw.
One day I’ll have enough material to create a massive pile like this guy does…the temperatures you can reach with huge piles is pretty impressive. Dude’s not messing around!