On August 26, at the 2021 Environmental Recycling Conference, Kevin Yuncker will deliver a presentation on recommended steps and technologies to commercially produce high-quality compost with greater efficiency and increased profitability.
As demand for compost continues to grow from the consumer and retail sectors as well as agricultural markets, so do the number of commercial compost production facilities throughout North America. With this increase in demand, many commercial composters are actively seeking solutions that will allow them to produce compost more efficiently while maintaining high standards of quality.
This year, at the 2021 Environmental Recycling Conference in Gatlinburg, TN, Kevin Yuncker of Viably (formerly Komptech Americas) will share an informative presentation on Thursday, August 26 at 2:30 pm, in the conference session titled “Compost/Organics Critical Equipment for Composting”. In his presentation, Yuncker will cover recommended best practices and technology steps in commercial windrow composting that enable any sized operation to achieve efficiencies that yield shortened composting times, reduced production costs and higher quality finished products.
There’s a Process to High-Quality Compost
Whether you recycle green waste, pre- or post-consumer food waste, agricultural manure or a combination thereof, converting these difficult and often contaminated, raw, waste materials into premium compost takes thoughtul preparation, planning and processes. Composting itself requires a deep understanding of the complex chemistry behind the natural decomposition of organics waste. Not unlike master chefs, successful composters must not only consider the proper mix of ingredients with appropriate cooking times and temperatures but also the tools and techniques that must be orchestrated together. By utilizing a defined set of process steps built on advanced technologies, commercial composters can now gain significant production efficiencies that lead to faster and healthier composting, fewer contaminants, improved compost quality and greater diversion of organics from landfills.
“We’ve developed a proven process for commercial composters that optimizes production in four simple steps,” says Kevin Yuncker, Eastern Senior Area Sales Manager of Viably (formerly Komptech Americas.) “Every step of this process adheres to one objective: maximize ecological and economic efficiency to produce the best quality output.”
STEP 1: SHRED – Achieve Better Aeration
Maintaining adequate airflow within a windrow is critical in compost production because it supplies the ventilation needed for healthy decomposition. Proper airflow also decreases the chances of anaerobic conditions from forming inside the windrow, which can lead to unpleasant odors and potentially unusable compost.
By shredding incoming, raw organics waste with a low-speed, organics waste shredder, like the Komptech Crambo (versus high-speed grinding), an optimal compost feedstock material is created. High-speed grinding tends to “pulverize” material into very small particles, making contaminants nearly impossible to separate and remove. Low-speed shredding keeps material particle sizes large enough for better air circulation, as well as keeps contaminants large enough so that downstream separation and removal is easier.
STEP 2: TURN – Create Tall, Peaked Windrows
With the raw organics waste pre-shredded to a uniform-sized feedstock material, the next step is to distribute the mixed materials into long, narrow piles called windrows. This is where the natural decomposition takes place over several weeks. The key to successful windrow composting is ensuring the temperatures, airflow and moisture levels inside the windrows remain optimal. This is achieved through a series of regular mixings of the windrows known as turning.
Komptech offers a full line of windrow turner machines in its Topturn X series. These turners efficiently churn and mix the windrow piles from the outside to the inside, leaving behind a properly aerated and perfectly shaped windrow ideal for composting. Komptech windrow turners are engineered to produce tall, peaked windrows that create what is known as the “chimney effect”. Using the chimney effect, air (O2) is drawn in from the base of the windrow while heat (CO2) is released from the top. This reduces compost decomposition times and minimizes unwanted odors.
STEP 3: SCREEN – Produce Clean, Consistent Output
Once the windrow process is complete, the next step is to screen the material into separate output fractions. At this stage, the fines are screened and separated into finished compost product while the mid-sized fraction and overs are separated further. This multi-fraction screening process is typically handled with a star screen machine.
The Komptech Multistar line of mobile star screens are designed to separate organics, including wet material, into 2 or 3 output fractions with a single machine and process at high-production levels. Star screens enable composters to efficiently separate clean, finished compost from other material fractions that may require additional processing or separation. The Multistar star screens also provide flexibility for a variety of output sizes depending on the composter’s requirements.
STEP 4: SEPARATE – Remove Contaminants and Overs
The final step of the composting process is to separate the overs fraction and remove any remaining contaminants. As a benefit of low-speed shredding on the front end, contaminants and overs at this stage remain large enough to be separated easily by specially designed equipment. Non-compostable contaminants typically include plastics (hard and film), stones and metals.
The Komptech Hurrikan S is a mobile windsifting separator machine designed to remove >95% of contaminants and overs at high-throughput production rates. This enables composters to efficiently separate plastic bags, foils and films, large compostables, rocks, nails and more, in one finishing process. Once separated, the large compostable overs can be reintroduced back into the compost process to be shredded and composted or used as bio-mulch. The non-compostables and inert items can be recycled or taken to the landfill for disposal.
Leverage Industry Expertise
Kevin Yuncker has served the waste and recycling industry for over 29 years. For the last eight years, he has been responsible for overseeing and managing equipment and technology sales in eastern North America for Viably (formerly Komptech Americas).
“While composters face numerous day-to-day challenges, there are new processes and more efficient technologies that are being introduced to the market,” says Yuncker. “My presentation will provide a step-by-step overview of the best practices and technologies for a more efficient windrow composting process.”
At the 2021 Environmental Recycling Conference, we invite you to join Kevin Yuncker and Garrett Lapsys in the exhibit booth. For more information about the 2021 Environmental Recycling Conference hosted by the Tennessee Recycling Coalition and Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry visit:
August 25–27, 2021
The Park Vista Hotel – Gatlinburg
705 Cherokee Orchard Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738