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Waste Management 30 (2010) 14771485

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Waste Management
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Mass and element balance in food waste composting facilities

HuiJun Zhang *, Toshihiko Matsuto
Lab. of Solid Waste Disposal Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Hokkaido University, Kita 13, Nishi 8, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-8628, Japan

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t
The mass and element balance in municipal solid waste composting facilities that handle food waste was studied. Material samples from the facilities were analyzed for moisture, ash, carbon, nitrogen, and the oxygen consumption of compost and bulking material was determined. Three different processes were used in the food waste composting facilities: standard in-vessel composting, drying, and stand-alone composting machine. Satisfactory results were obtained for the input/output ash balance despite several assumptions made concerning the quantities involved. The carbon/nitrogen ratio and oxygen consumption values for compost derived only from food waste were estimated by excluding the contribution of the bulking material remaining in the compost product. These estimates seemed to be suitable indices for the biological stability of compost because there was a good correlation between them, and because the values seemed logical given the operating conditions at the facilities. 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Article history: Received 2 September 2009 Accepted 17 February 2010 Available online 16 March 2010

1. Introduction Organic waste is one of the major components of municipal solid waste (MSW). When organic waste is placed in landlls, a long time is required before the chemical oxygen demand and nitrogen in the leachate meet environmental standards (El-Fadel et al., 2002; Pelaez et al., 2009) and this increases the cost of aftercare. To reduce the aftercare period, some European countries have attempted to reduce the organic content of landlled waste through mechanicalbiological treatment or incineration. The use of a bioreactor landll is another approach to increasing the stability of organic components by controlling the moisture and oxygen levels (Kelly et al., 2006; Giannis et al., 2008). While incineration of organic waste is still the most efcient method of stabilization, it is not efcient for valorization due to the low rate of energy recovery from organic waste with high moisture content. Due to the nature of organic waste, biological recycling is the most desirable method of material or energy recovery. Many methods are available for the biological recycling of organic waste. The production of hydrogen or lactic acid has been examined, but practical systems based on this principle are still in the testing stage (Andress et al., 2009; Baghchehsaraee et al., 2009). Anaerobic digestion and composting have a long history as traditional methods for treating various types of organic waste (McDougall et al., 2001). This paper focuses on composting. There has been a great deal of research regarding composting in general and composting processes in particular, including investi-

gations of factors such as bulking materials, temperature, moisture content, and pH (de Bertoldi et al., 1983; Maynard, 2000; Krner et al., 2003; Adhikari et al., 2009), and acceleration of the composting process using biochemical means (Cunha-Queda et al., 2007; Sole-Mauri et al., 2007). In addition, Cadena et al. (2009) developed a methodology for determining gaseous emissions in a composting plant. Ogawa et al. (1997) studied the mass balance and production rate of compost, as well as the material and energy balance for composting sewage sludge. Ahn et al. (2007) studied the material and energy balance for a mixture of poultry manure and wood shavings at different aeration rates, and de Arajo Morais et al. (2008) examined the mass balance to assess the efciency of mechanicalbiological treatment. However, most of these studies were performed in single treatment facilities. The type of waste, amount of bulking material, process ow, operational conditions, and other factors may inuence the composting process. Among these factors, the type of waste is the most dominant factor because it inuences the selection of process and operation method. Therefore, in the present study, MSW composting facilities were classied based on waste type, and food waste composting facilities were compared in terms of the balance of dry mass and elements, and stability of compost.

2. Methods 2.1. MSW composting facilities in Japan The Japanese Ministry of the Environment (MOE) conducts an extensive survey of MSW management every year. According to the survey, there were 77 compositing facilities in Japan in 2005

* Corresponding author. Tel./fax: +81 11 706 6827. E-mail address: matsuto@eng.hokudai.ac.jp (T. Matsuto). 0956-053X/$ - see front matter 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2010.02.029


H. Zhang, T. Matsuto / Waste Management 30 (2010) 14771485

Processing capacity (ton/day)

For future studies, the questionnaire also asked about the consumption of electricity and fuel, operating costs, construction costs, and the collection method for food waste for household and business activities. Thirty-eight (51%) of the questionnaires were returned. 2.3. Facilities studied The 38 composting facilities treated a wide variety of input waste material, which was grouped into four categories for the purposes of this study: (1) household and commercial food waste including organic residue from food processing industries, (2) sewage sludge including human waste and sludge from septic tanks, (3) animal waste including excreta from cows, pigs, and poultry, and (4) tree branches.
Start-up date (year)


Household +Commercial+Sludge Househole+Commercial


Household Commercial Sludge


Fig. 1. Processing capacity and start-up date of composting facilities operating in Japan in 2005.

(Japanese Ministry of the Environment, 2005). Fig. 1 shows the processing capacity and the year that each facility started operation. The number of composting facilities has increased since the late 1990s for several reasons. A subsidy system was established in 1997 for sewage sludge disposal facilities that also handled food waste. A new law concerning livestock waste management was introduced in 1999 to promote the appropriate use of livestock manure. Starting in 2001, a law covering food waste recycling was introduced for businesses and commercial enterprises producing large amounts of food waste. The 2000 Biomass Japan strategy has also been promoting the effective use of organic wastes. 2.2. Questionnaires Fig. 1 uses different symbols to show the various waste categories for composting. However, the MOE survey did not cover the proportion of each type of waste for facilities that treat more than one type. Basic information such as the amount of compost production and details of the process ow were also missing. To allow for more in-depth analysis, questionnaires were sent to 74 composting facilities in September 2008 to obtain these missing data for 2007. Three facilities were excluded because they had ceased operation. Table 1 lists the questions included in this questionnaire. These included types and amounts of organic and bulking material for the input, and compost and residue for the output.

As the moisture content varied widely for the different types of waste material, the dry weight was calculated from the moisture content values shown in Table 2b. As shown in Table 2a, the composting facilities were divided into six groups depending on the type of waste input. There were 14 facilities that treated only food waste, two that treated only sewage sludge, and two that treated only garden waste. The other facilities treated mixtures of more than one type of waste. This study concentrated on the 14 composting facilities that treated only food waste. Three of these were eliminated from the study because one had ceased operation in 2008 and two conducted composting after methane fermentation. Interviews were conducted at the other 11 facilities to obtain additional information such as the food waste moisture content, nature of the nal product and bulking material, equipment conguration, processing time (i.e., number of days in decomposition and maturation), frequency of mechanical turning, process temperature, heating methods, composting agents (e.g., bacteria, fungi, enzymes, and compost microfauna), odor control method, and market of compost. Mass balance data were checked when they were unexpectedly large or small, e.g., large amounts of residue or small composting rate. Samples of the compost and bulking materials were sent to our laboratory in 4-L and 500-mL bottles. Table 6 shows the type of bulking material. Food waste included preparation residues, plate waste, and original food (including, e.g., vegetables, sh, meat, and fruits), and their compositions were signicantly heterogeneous. It is quite difcult to take a representative sample of food waste in composting facilities without a well designed sampling procedure with appropriate mechanical equipment. The characteristics of food waste have been reported in many studies, and their

Table 1 Questions asked in the written survey. Item Input Output material Collection Utilities Cost Number of personnel Food waste Other waste Bulking materials Compost Residue Household Commercial Electricity, fuel, water Construction Running Contents Type(household, commercial activities), amount, moisture content Type(sewage sludge, animal waste etc.), amount, moisture content Type(rice husk, rice bran, wood chip etc.), amount, price Amount, price, transportation cost Amount, disposal method Amount, service population, collection frequency, container, collection vehicle Amount, type of source, collection method, collection fee Annual consumption Personnel, electricity, fuel, water, chemicals etc.

H. Zhang, T. Matsuto / Waste Management 30 (2010) 14771485 Table 2 Summary of MSW composting facilities. Groups Ratio of input waste (%) Food waste (a) Classication by input wastes* Food waste Mainly food waste (50%) + others Mainly animal waste (80%) + others Sewage sludge Food waste, animal waste and sewage sludge Tree branches Organic matter (b) Assumed moisture content of waste Food waste Animal waste Sewage sludge Tree branches


Number of facilities Sewage sludge 0 040 020 100 060 0 Assumed (%) 75 80 75 37.5 Garden waste 0 013 0 0 0 100 14 6 9 2 5 2 Reference Diaz et al. (2005) WRF (1999) Diaz et al. (2005) Diaz et al. (2005) OWRRD (2005)

Animal waste 0 020 >80 0 050 0 Range (%) 7080 71.180.8 80 7080 3540

100 >50 020 0 2050 0

Dry weight basis.

values do not differ markedly from each other. Therefore, the characteristics of food waste were estimated using the values in the literature (Table 7). 2.4. Analytical procedures All samples were dried and shredded before analysis. The moisture content and oxygen consumption as well as the levels of ash, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen were determined for the compost and bulking material. Element content (Cd, Cr, Cu, As, Hg, Ni, Pb, Zn, Ca, K, Na, and P) was also determined for the compost. The numbers of replicates were 3, 3, and 2 for moisture and ash, element content, and oxygen consumption, respectively, and the

average values were used. The procedures used in the analyses were as follows (FAMIC, 2008). 2.4.1. Moisture and ash contents First, 5 g of each sample was dried at 100 C for 5 h, and the moisture content was determined by dividing the weight lost by the initial weight. Then, 2 g of dry sample material was placed in an electric furnace at 600 C for 3 h and the ash content was determined by dividing the ash weight by the initial weight. 2.4.2. Element contents Dry 23-mg samples were sent to the Center for Instrumental Analysis at Hokkaido University to determine the carbon, hydro-

Table 3 Classication of facilities by composting process. Facility Capacity (t/day) Pretreatment Composting reactors Processing time (day) First phase A1 A2 A3 3 0.5 7 Shredder Shredder Shredder Horizontal bioreactor Horizontal bioreactor Vertical multi-oor 30 3040 30 Second phase 60 2040 60 Every 2 weeks Once per day Continuous Activated carbon Sawdust Soil Vibrating separator Trommel screen Vibrating separator Free distribution Free distribution 12000 JPY/ ton(truck), 300 JPY/15L (bag) Free distribution Free distribution Free distribution 18900 JPY/ ton(truck), 240JPY/20L(bag) Free distribution Free distribution Free distribution Free distribution Frequency of turning Odor control Postprocessing Sales price

A4 A5 AS1 AS2

4.8 5 4.9 5

Shredder, magnetic and air separator Shredder Shredder Shredder

Horizontal bioreactor Horizontal bioreactor Longitudinal channel Longitudinal channel Horizontal units Horizontal units Horizontal units Horizontal drum multiple multiple multiple rotating

56 30 2 2

2060 30

Twice per week Once per day Continuous Continuous

Wool Soil Peat moss Activated carbon

Vibrating magnetic and air separator Vibrating separator Rotary screen Vibrating separator

B1 B2 B3 B4

0.5 0.3 0.3 0.6

8h 8h 8h 1

Continuous Continuous Continuous Continuous

Catalyst deodorization Catalyst deodorization Catalyst deodorization Rice husk

JPY is a unit of Japanese currency.


H. Zhang, T. Matsuto / Waste Management 30 (2010) 14771485

gen, and nitrogen contents. In addition, a 10-g portion of each wet compost sample was digested with aqua regia. After ltering through 5B lter paper, the resulting liquid was analyzed for mercury, chromium, nickel, lead, and zinc by atomic absorption spectrometry (Z-8200; Hitachi). The amounts of other elements were analyzed using an inductively coupled plasma spectrometer (ICPE-9000; Shimadzu Corp.).

2.4.3. Oxygen consumption Samples of 3 g wet weight were placed in 135-mL glass bottles, which were then placed into an oven at a constant temperature of 37 C. The initial moisture content was set to about 50% (Fujita, 1993), and 0.3 g of farm soil was added as inoculation. Oxygen concentration was measured at intervals of 1014 h for 1 week. When the oxygen concentration decreased to lower than 10%, fresh air was added to the bottle. Oxygen consumption was calculated from the decrease between measurements.

3. Results of the survey and analysis 3.1. Composting process Table 3 shows the 11 facilities classied into three groups according to treatment time and process type.

Table 4 Amount of input and output materials. Facility Input Food waste A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 AS1 AS2 B1 B2 B3 B4 699.4 33.0 400.0 792.0 75.0 661 264.5 56.0 12.7 9.2 147.0 Bulking material 59.2 6.6a 97.5 146.0 2.4 14.4 5.4 11.2a 0.3 0.2 3.7 Output Compost 142.7 NAb 350.0 35.0 9.9 111.7 43 NAb 3.5 2.3 4.9 Residue 0.1 NA 5 181.9 NA 6.6 12.1 NA 0 0 0

Group A facilities used a standard in-vessel type compost system. The rst phase of decomposition lasted for about 1 month followed by a 3060-day maturation process. The reactor vessels were either horizontal or vertical. Each facility used pretreatment and postprocessing instruments such as shredders, vibrating separators, and air separators. Facility A4 had a dewatering machine, but it was not in use when the survey was conducted. The frequency of turning varied among the facilities from every 2 weeks to continuous. Compost samples were taken after the maturation process in all ve facilities. Group AS facilities used closed vertical vessels for waste treatment. Both facilities had pretreatment and postprocessing. Food waste was turned continuously and the reactors were heated by circulating hot water in a jacket and by blowing hot air at about 80 C into the top of the reactor. Bulking material and microorganisms were added to the food waste. The processing time was only 1 or 2 days, and there was no maturation process. The group B facilities used composting machines for food waste generated from businesses such as restaurants. The annual throughput was smaller than those of groups A and AS. There was no pretreatment, postprocessing, or maturation at facilities B1B4. The reactors at facilities B1B3 were divided into four vertical rooms through which waste was automatically transferred and discharged by conveyer belts. The waste temperature was maintained at approximately 80 C with an electric heater, and waste remained there for 68 h. On the other hand, the reactor at facility B4 was a rotating drum in which waste was constantly mixed and turned. The processing time was 1 day during which time the temperature was maintained at 6070 C by an electric heater. Samples from group AS and group B were taken within 1 week after discharge from the facilities. All 11 facilities have odor control systems as shown in Table 3. Compost product is sold at facilities A3 and AS2, while they are distributed to citizens and farmers free of charge at the other facilities. 3.2. Input and output Table 4 shows the wet-mass amount of input and output material at the composting facilities. There are some missing data. As these amounts are required to estimate the mass balance, the amounts of bulking material in A2 and B1 (indicated by a in Table 4) were estimated by assuming a ratio of bulking material to food waste of 20% based on the results of interviews at both facilities. The dry amounts of the compost in both facilities were estimated from the dry mass balance as described in Section 4.1.

Wet-mass basis (t/yr). NA: not available. a Estimated by the ratio of bulking material to food waste (0.2). b Dry mass estimated in Section 4.1.

Table 5 Proximate and ultimate analyses values and oxygen consumption rates of compost. Facility Dry basis Ash A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 AS1 AS2 B1 B2 B3 B4 10.1 31.6 29.2 42.7 46.2 11.1 10.0 6.8 13.1 13.1 31.5 C 44.8 39.7 30.7 29.3 27.3 45.8 48.3 51.2 47.8 47.0 30.6 N 2.4 1.5 2.9 3.0 2.8 3.7 4.0 4.2 4.1 4.8 2.2 H 5.7 4.9 3.8 3.7 3.8 6.5 6.8 7.4 6.8 6.7 4.0 Othera 37.0 22.3 33.4 21.4 19.9 32.9 30.9 30.4 28.2 28.4 31.7 22.6 19.7 48.3 34.2 31.1 10.6 5.7 5.5 11.5 10.7 35.5 215 16 12 127 26 182 133 79 90 80 19 Moisture content (%) Oxygen consumption (g-O2/kg-DS in 1 week)

DS: dry solid. a Other = 100 (ash + C + N + H).

H. Zhang, T. Matsuto / Waste Management 30 (2010) 14771485 Table 6 Proximate and ultimate analyses values of bulking material. Facility Dry basis Ash A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 AS1 AS2 B1 B2 B3 B4 0.8 0.8 0.6 5.8 20.4 0.5 11.0 0.8 26.0 31.0 35.3 C 47.9 49.1 48.3 47.4 34.7 47.4 47.8 48.3 41.0 39.5 38.1 N 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.8 0.5 0.1 2.6 0.1 0.5 0.5 0.3 H 6.0 6.2 6.1 6.0 4.8 6.1 7.3 6.4 5.4 5.2 5.1 Other 45.1 43.7 44.9 40.0 39.7 45.9 31.3 44.4 27.1 23.8 21.2


Moisture content (%)

Oxygen consumption (g-O2/kg-DS in 1 week)

Bulking material

12.5 13.2 13.2 39.0 13.0 12.6 10.4 13.5 11.4 10.3 13.0

24 18 16 46 19 7 610 15 221 39 209

Saw powder Sawdust Sawdust Wood chip Rice husk Saw powder Rice bran Saw Rice Rice Rice dust husk husk husk

DS: dry solid. a Other=100 (ash + C + N + H).

3.3. Carbon hydrogen, nitrogen, moisture content, and oxygen consumption Tables 5 and 6 show the results of proximate and ultimate analyses of compost and bulking material. The moisture contents of the compost varied among the facilities, but those of group AS and facilities B1B3 were low (around 510%) due to the heated reactors. The oxygen consumption rate, which is a good index of stabilization, is also shown in Tables 5 and 6. For compost, the consumption rate differed markedly among the facilities. The reason for this variation will be discussed in Section 4.5. The bulking materials had higher C/N ratios than the compost. 4. Mass balances and stability of compost 4.1. Estimation of missing values of compost The dry mass balance can be calculated based on Table 4 using the moisture contents of the compost (Table 5) and the bulking material (Table 6), and by assuming the moisture content of food waste (75%). The characteristics of food waste were estimated from the literature as shown in Table 7. As the amount of residue was high compared with the compost product from facilities A4 and AS2 (Table 4), residue samples were requested from these two facilities. The moisture contents of residues for facilities A4 and AS2 were 31.9% and 13.8%, respectively. Residue was rejected at post processing after the composting process, and the moisture content of the residue was assumed to be the same as that of the compost for other facilities in the A and AS groups. The dry mass balance was calculated using these values as shown in Table 8a. The amounts of compost at A2 and B1, which are missing from Table 4, were estimated as follows. The amounts of residue at A1 and A3 were negligible compared to those of compost as shown in Table 8a, and those at A2, A5, and B1 are also negligible according to the operators although data were not available. By assuming that the bulking material remains

nonbiodegraded (this assumption will be discussed later in this section), the dry mass balance can be written as

1 gmf mb mc

g 1 mc mb =mf ;

where g is the decomposition rate of food waste and m is the dry mass. Subscript f indicates food waste, b represents bulking material, and c indicates compost. Decomposition rates of food waste in group A were calculated to be 0.66, 0.04, and 0.75 at A1, A3, and A5, respectively, and 0.12, 0.19, and 1.01 at B2, B3, and B4, respectively. A3 and B4 showed excessively high and low compost

Table 8 Mass balance on dry basis. Facility Input (t/yr) Food waste (a) Dry material Al A2 A3 A4 A5 ASl AS2 Bl B2 B3 B4 Facility 175 8 100 198 19 165 66 14.0 3.2 2.3 36.8 Input (t/yr) Food waste (b) Ash A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 AS1 AS2 17.5 0.8 10 19.8 1.9 16.5 6.6 1.4 0.3 0.2 3.7 Bulking material 0.4 0.0 0.5 5.1 0.4 0.1 0.5 0.1 0.1 0.1 1.1 17.9 0.9 10.5 24.9 2.3 16.6 7.1 1.5 0.4 0.3 4.8 Bulking material 52(0.5) 6(0.0) 85(0.5) 89(1.5) 2(0.0) 13(0.1) 5(1.1) 9.7(0.1) 0.3(0.0) 0.2(0.0) 3.2(0.3) Total Output (t/yr) Compost 110 8 181 23 7 100 41 21.6 3.1 2.1 3.0 Residue 0.1 NA 3 124 NA 6 10 NA 0.0 0.0 0.0

Output (t/yr) Compost 11.2 2.7 52.8 9.8 3.2 11.1 4.1 1.5 0.4 0.3 0.9 Residue NA 28.7 NA 2.2 NA 0.0 0.0 0.0

Table 7 Assumed characteristics of food waste. Items Moisture Ash C N Range (%) 7080 71.180.8 6.314.8 33.745.9 1.92.0 Average (%) 75 75.4 10.5 Assumed (%) 75 10 40 2 Reference Diaz et al. (2005) WRF (1999) WRF (1999) WRF (1999) WRF (1999)

B1 B2 B3 B4

Values in parentheses are biodegradable carbon of bulking material which is equivalent to oxygen consumption. Actual decrease of mass should be calculated including oxygen and hydrogen in organic matter.


H. Zhang, T. Matsuto / Waste Management 30 (2010) 14771485

production, respectively, suggesting poor reliability of the data. Therefore, the amounts of compost were estimated based on the average decomposition rate of A1 and A5 (0.70) and the average decomposition rate of B2 and B3 (0.15), for A2 and B1, respectively. From the oxygen consumption rate data shown in Table 6, the degradable amount of carbon, which is equivalent to consumed oxygen, can be calculated for bulking materials. For group A, the oxygen consumption rates of bulking materials were low. For groups AS and B, some materials had high consumption rates,

but mixing rates of bulking materials were small. As a result, the estimated decreases in carbon by aerobic biodegradation, which are shown in parentheses in Table 8a, were negligible when compared to the dry amount of compost. Therefore, bulking material was assumed to remain nonbiodegraded in the composting process. 4.2. Estimation of the rejection rate of compost Table 8b shows the estimated amounts of ash in the input and output material. The ash contents were calculated using the amounts of dry material shown in Table 8a, the ash contents shown in Tables 5 and 6. The ash in residues for facilities A4 and AS2 was calculated using the ash contents of the sampled residue, 23.1% and 21.0%, respectively. The ash contents in the residues for facilities A1, A3, and AS1 were neglected because of the small amounts involved. Ash contents of food waste were estimated to be 10% as shown in Table 7. The amount of residue at facility A4 was greater than the amount of compost (Table 8a) on a dry basis. The facility operator explained that most of wood chips used as bulking material were rejected as residue. As the amount of residue was larger than the amount of wood chips added, it was considered that some of the compost produced from food waste was rejected as residue with wood chips. Indeed, in the residue sample sent to the lab, compost was uniformly found on the surface of the wood chips. Taking the residue as a mixture of wood chips and compost derived from food waste (called compost-F), the amount of ash in residue was calculated from ash contents of bulking material (5.8%) and compost (42.7%) in Tables 5 and 6. The value approached the ash amount estimated from the measured ash contents in residue samples (23.1%), when both fractions were equivalent to each other. In fact, 23 0.427 + 124 0.231 85 0.427 + 62 0.058. That is, the actual amount of rejected wood chips was 124/2 = 62 t, and that of

Output mererial (compost+residue) (ton)



1 1


A5 B1 B4


AS1 A1

Input material (food waste+bulking material) (ton)

Fig. 2. Amount of ash of input and output materials.

Table 9 Mass balance of carbon and nitrogen. Facility Input (t/yr) Food waste (a) Carbon A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 AS1 AS2 B1 B2 B3 B4 Facility 69.9 3.3 40.0 79.2 7.5 66.1 26.4 5.6 1.3 0.9 14.7 Input (t/yr) Food waste (b) Nitrogen A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 AS1 AS2 B1 B2 B3 B4 3.50 0.17 2.00 3.96 0.38 3.31 1.32 0.28 0.06 0.05 0.74 Bulking material 0.05 0.01 0.08 0.72 0.01 0.01 0.13 0.01 0.001 0.001 0.01 Bulking material 24.8 2.8 40.8 42.2 0.7 6.0 2.3 4.7 0.1 0.1 1.2 Output (t/yr) Compost 49.4 3.3 55.6 24.9 1.9 45.7 19.6 11.1 1.5 1.0 0.9 Compost-F 24.6 0.5 14.8 1.1 39.7 17.3 6.4 1.4 0.9 (0.3) Output (t/yr) Compost 2.67 0.13 5.16 2.51 0.19 3.74 1.62 0.91 0.13 0.10 0.07 Compost-F 2.62 0.12 5.07 0.18 3.72 1.50 0.90 0.12 0.10 0.06 0.50 0.16 0.27 0.61 0.87 0.88 0.58 0.92 0.92 (0.33) (Compost-F)/Compost ()

H. Zhang, T. Matsuto / Waste Management 30 (2010) 14771485


compost-F was calculated as 23 + 62 = 85 t. These amounts were used in the discussion of carbon balance in Section 4.4. At facility A4, the moisture contents of compost and residue as well as that of wood chips were high (34%, 32%, and 39%, respectively). According to the operator, the frequency of turning is low (twice a week), and the temperature of waste remains low during the composting process. Such humidity may lead to low separation efciency of the vibrating screen in postprocessing, and result in a high rejection rate of compost. 4.3. Ash balance between input and output material Fig. 2 shows the ash balance between the input material (food waste + bulking material) and output material (compost + residue). The ratio should be 1:1 because ash does not disappear during composting. The ratios were approximately unity for most facilities. Deviation from the 1:1 line was likely caused by errors in the amounts of input and output material, and error in the moisture content of food waste. As mentioned in Section 4.1, the amount of compost at facility A3 was very large, while that at B4 was very small (Table 8a). The errors in the input and output amounts led to the ash balance errors in Fig. 2. 4.4. Carbon and nitrogen balance Table 9a and b shows the balance of carbon and nitrogen. The carbon and nitrogen contents of food waste were estimated to be 0.4 and 0.02, respectively (Table 7). The carbon/nitrogen ratio is one index of compost stability. However, the carbon and nitrogen in compost are derived not only from food waste, but also from the bulking material. By assuming that the bulking material does not decompose (see Section 4.1) and that the carbon and nitrogen of the bulking material are not transferred to the product compost, the carbon and nitrogen derived from food waste can be calculated by subtracting those of the bulking material. Table 9a and b shows the amounts of carbon and nitrogen in compost derived from food waste (compost-F). As de-

scribed in Section 4.2, the bulking material is not included in the compost from facility A4. The carbon and nitrogen in the compost of facility A4 were calculated by assuming the compost amount to be 85 t, and compost-F was not calculated. A comparison of compost-F with compost showed that the amount of carbon was increased by the addition of bulking materials. The ratio of compost-F/compost at facilities A2 and A3 was around 0.2, indicating that 80% of the carbon was transferred from the bulking material. The amount of nitrogen did not change because the bulking material contained little nitrogen. The carbon of compost-F for facility B4 had a negative value due to errors in the data. Table 10a shows the carbon/nitrogen ratios of compost and compost-F.

4.5. Stability of compost As the bulking material in compost can be assumed to have negligible oxygen consumption (see Section 4.1), the oxygen consumption rates of compost shown in Table 5 were contributed only by compost-F. Therefore, the oxygen consumption rate of compost-F was obtained by multiplying the oxygen consumption rate of compost by the ratio of compost/(compostbulking material) in dry mass, e.g., 215 110/(110 52) = 408 for facility A1 from Tables 5 and 8a. Estimated values for compost-F are shown in Table 10b. Fig. 3 shows the correlation between oxygen consumption and the carbon/nitrogen ratio of compost-F. The values for compost were used for facility A4. Data for B4 are not shown due to the negative values. There was a linear correlation between oxygen consumption and the carbon/nitrogen ratio in Fig. 3. Among the standard composting facilities (group A), facilities A2, A3, and A5 had low values for both indices. According to Fujita (1993), the oxygen consumption of mature compost should be less than 30 g-O2/kg-DS in week. As this value was based on a compost product that includes bulking material, 2251 g-O2/kg-DS in week for compost-F seems reasonably low. Fig. 3 suggests that the carbon/ nitrogen ratio tends to zero when food waste biodegrades. Mechanical turning at facility A1 occurred only once every 2 weeks, and no forced aeration was provided. Fujita (1993) reported that mechanical turning was necessary every day. At A4,

Table 10 C/N ratio and oxygen consumption rate of compost derived from food waste. Facility (a) C/N () A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 AS1 AS2 B1 B2 B3 B4 Facility (b) Oxygen consumption (g-O2/kg-DS in 1 week) A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 AS1 AS2 B1 B2 B3 B4 Compost 18.5 26.1 10.8 9.9 9.6 12.2 12.1 12.1 11.7 9.8 13.7 Compost-F 405 51 22 37 208 151 143 99 89 (286) Compost-F 9.4 4.4 2.9 6.2 10.7 11.5 7.1 10.9 9.1 (5.3)


C/N (Compost - bulking material) (-)

B2 B3 A4



B1 A5

A2 A3


Oxygen consumption (g-O2/kg-DS in 1week)

Fig. 3. Correlation of oxygen consumption and C/N of compost excluding bulking material.

1484 Table 11 Elemental content of compost. Facility

H. Zhang, T. Matsuto / Waste Management 30 (2010) 14771485

Heavy metal (mg/kg) As Cd 1.7 1.6 2.6 2.5 1.5 1.2 1.6 1.8 1.2 1.0 1.6 0.25 5 0.4 0.7 0.1 110 Cr 1.7 1.6 1.6 4.1 2.6 2.2 1.2 0.9 1.8 1.6 3.2 1 Cu 24.8 17.2 49.3 37.1 71.1 17.6 20.4 7.1 16.3 18.2 35.5 1.25 600 33 76 <1 Hg 0.8 0.5 1.0 1.0 0.5 1.3 0.2 0.5 1.1 0.7 1.0 2.5 2 0.04 0.11 <0.01 2.642 3.9 7.7 <0.1 Ni 1.0 2.2 0.8 2.6 1.2 1.3 0.7 0.2 1.1 0.9 4.4 1.25 Pb 2.1 3.8 1.6 2.8 2.6 2.5 1.2 0.9 0.9 2.2 1.0 5 Zn 42.6 34.1 28.4 31.3 39.6 29.1 16.5 16.1 19.5 29.0 13.5 0.75 1800 52.3 103 0.21

Fertilizer component(%) Ca 3.2 5.1 4.1 14.6 9.3 3.2 2.7 2.6 4.9 3.3 5.9 K 0.8 1.1 2.4 2.0 2.6 1.0 0.9 0.5 1.2 0.9 1.4 Na 0.7 0.7 0.8 1.6 1.3 0.9 1.1 0.5 1.0 1.1 0.6 P 0.4 0.8 1.1 0.9 1.4 0.5 0.8 1.0 0.7 0.7 0.5

Al A2 A3 A4 A5 AS1 AS2 B1 B2 B3 B4 Detection limit (lg/kg) Refs.a Refs.b Average Maximum Minimum

4.2 4.6 8.3 6.8 7.0 4.4 5.2 4.0 5.3 5.4 1.3 1.25 50 1.2 2.9 0.6

1.5 2.3 0.7

1.8 1.8 1.8

1.7 4.7 0.2

a b

Standard value of compost in Japan (dry basis). WRF, 1999.

aerobic biodegradation was limited due to problems of high moisture content and low frequency of turning as mentioned in Section 4.2. These conditions contributed to the relatively high carbon/ nitrogen and oxygen consumption rates at this facility. The reactors at facilities AS1 and AS2 were heated to 80 C and hot air was blown into them for 1 or 2 days. The waste material is thus more likely to be dried instead of decomposed. This is unlike the reactors at facilities B1, B2, and B3, which were heated but not provided with hot air injection. The lower oxygen consumption rate and carbon/nitrogen ratio than in group AS suggested that the food waste was decomposed but stabilization was only partial due to the higher values than in group A. Although the oxygen consumption rate at facility B4 was negative due to erroneous data, the oxygen consumption of compost in Table 5 was lower than for other group B facilities, and close to those at A2, A3, and A5. Constant mixing and the temperature control described in Section 3.1 may be the reason for such a high decomposition rate. 4.6. Compost elements Table 11 shows the elemental contents in the compost. The metal concentrations in this study were below the maximum permissible levels for organic farming recommended by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. The maximum permissible levels for organic farming in Japan are 2 mg/kg of mercury, 5 mg/kg of cadmium, 50 mg/kg of arsenic, 600 mg/kg of copper, and 1800 mg/kg of zinc. As other heavy metals are not as dangerous as arsenic and cadmium, they are not restricted by the Fertilizer Control Law. 5. Conclusions This study involved surveys in two stages. After the rst written survey of 77 MSW composting facilities in Japan, the facilities were categorized according to the type of input waste handled. The second survey was administered to 14 facilities that treated food waste only. A chemical analysis of material samples from these facilities was conducted and the mass balance of the facilities was examined. The main ndings were as follows. 1. There was a wide variety of input waste in MSW composting facilities. As the facility performance, including mass or energy balance, is dependent on the input material, research should be

conducted by focusing on similar facilities or by differentiating facilities based on the input waste material they handle. Our study focused on facilities that processed only food waste. 2. Different processes exist even in composting facilities that process only food waste. Of the 11 facilities for which data were obtained, two should be more properly called drying facilities, and four used stand-alone composting machines. Only ve facilities used a standard in-vessel composting process. 3. The main objective of this paper was to estimate the mass and element balance between the input and output. This was complicated by problems related to missing and unreliable data, therefore, the mass balance should have been estimated by using operators assessment for ratio among input materials, by assuming degradation rate of food waste, and by calculating ash balance between the input and output. As a sample of food waste was not obtained in this study, food waste characteristics were estimated based on previous research. 4. Satisfactory results were obtained for the ash balance between the input and output despite the preliminary assumptions required. The carbon/nitrogen ratio and oxygen consumption rate values for compost derived from food waste only were estimated by excluding the contribution of the bulking material remaining in the compost product. We believe that the estimated values are good indices of the biological stability of compost because there were good correlations between them, and because the values followed logically from the operating conditions at the facilities.

Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank the composting facilities for their cooperation with interviews and questionnaires. References
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