presented by justin fleming oregon state university l.
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Presented by: Justin Fleming Oregon State University. Compost. Decomposition Happens. Through composting, we harness the decomposition process. Composting: Controlled process of decomposition

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presented by justin fleming oregon state university
Presented by:

Justin Fleming

Oregon State University


decomposition happens
Decomposition Happens
  • Through composting, we harness the decomposition process.
    • Composting: Controlled process of decomposition
    • Composting allows us to convert organic materials into humus: a dark, crumbly, nutrient-rich soil amendment.
what is compost
What is Compost?
  • Compost is a dark brown, crumbly, porous, soil-like material.
    • It is often confused with soil, but in fact is quite distinct.
    • Soil is composed primarily of tiny particles of weathered rock of various sizes.
    • Compost is composed primarily of a material called humus, an organic material made up of microscopic, clay-like particles produced by the process of decomposition, whose properties produce the many benefits of compost.
why compost
Why Compost?
  • Waste Minimization


  • Nutrient and Water Storage
  • Improved Soil Structure
  • Erosion Prevention
  • Disease Resistance
waste minimization resources
Waste Minimization/ Resources


4.3 Billion Pounds of Organics

1.7 Billion Pounds of Food

  • Composting is Aerobic ( Needs Air )
    • Aerobic Organisms
      • The microorganisms and invertebrates fundamental to the composting process require oxygen and water to successfully decompose the material.
    • Anaerobic Organisms
      • These organisms produce byproducts detrimental to plants.
passive composting
Passive Composting
  • Composting is a dynamic process
  • Depending on the process used it will occur quickly or slowly
  • A pile of organic waste will eventually decompose, but slowly. (Decomposition Happens)
  • “Passive composting" requires very little maintenance.
active composting
Active Composting
  • Fast or "active" composting can be completed by creating ideal conditions to encourage the natural decomposition
  • Active Composters pay attention to:
    • Aeration
    • Moisture
    • Carbon to nitrogen (C:N) ratio
what can we do
What can we do?
  • Anything that was once living can be composted.
  • Ideal materials to compost include:
    • Grass clippings, leaves and other yard debris
    • Food waste*
    • Non-recyclable paper
    • Animal manures*
    • Woody debris
    • Other Organics
compost methods
Compost Methods

There are a variety of methods used to compost organic residuals.

These cover municipal and backyard programs.

municipal composting
Municipal Composting
  • Municipal composting comes in a variety of forms.
  • They range from very simple to very sophisticated.
municipal composting12
Municipal Composting
  • Organics are picked up from residences and delivered to the facility.
  • A track hoe removes contaminants and passes material forward.
municipal composting13
Municipal Composting
  • The material is thoroughly mixed and sent forward to be loaded into windrows
municipal composting14
Municipal Composting
  • Organics are loaded on top of an advanced aeration system
municipal composting15
Municipal Composting
  • Overview of lower compost pad
municipal composting16
Municipal Composting
  • Windrow Turner
municipal composting17
Municipal Composting
  • Internal Weather Patterns
municipal composting18
Municipal Composting
  • 32 Day Through-put
earth tub
Earth Tub

OSU chose an aerated, in-vessel unit called the Earth Tub.

earth tub continued
Earth Tub(Continued)

An Earth Tub can recover up to 300 lbs of food waste a day.

what can you do
What can you do?
  • Call your local garbage hauler and ask about curbside pickup for yard debris
  • Trade curbside pickup of yard debris for a composter or ask your hauler about composters at cost
  • Start your own compost pile!
getting started
Getting started
  • Choose a level, well-drained site, preferably near your garden.
  • Use alternating layers of high-carbon and high-nitrogen material or mix the two together and then heap into a pile. If you alternate layers, make each layer 2 to 4 inches thick. Use approximately equal amounts of each. Adding a few shovels of soil will also help get the pile off to a good start; soil adds commonly found decomposing organisms.
  • Water periodically. The pile should be moist but not saturated.
  • Punch holes in the sides of the pile for aeration.
what to expect
What to expect
  • The pile will heat up and then begin to cool. Start turning when the pile's internal temperature peaks and starts to drop.
  • Check your pile regularly to assure optimum moisture and aeration are present.
  • Move materials from the center to the outside and vice versa. Turn every day or two and you should get compost in less than 4 weeks. Turning every other week will make compost in 1 to 3 months. Finished compost will smell sweet and be cool and crumbly to the touch.
what you can do
What you can do
  • Find materials that otherwise would be recycled or disposed of.
what you can do29
What you can do
  • Be creative!
  • I built a compost turner that doubles as a furniture dolly
what you can do30
What you can do
  • To turn the compost, I rotate the barrel using my “custom” turner
  • I’ve used my compost and vermicompost to grow organic produce