The EcoVerde Composting Process
How the Magic Happens
Writers and professors who describe composting are inclined to use the word magic. Indeed, the process is one of nature’s miracles: Invisible organisms take organic matter and turn it into vital material that stimulates plant growth, resulting in complex eco-systems and food production.
Commercial composting is a matter of facilitating the magic.
Here is how it’s done at EcoVerde Organics.
Finding the site
Home composting can be done almost anywhere, but large scale composting must consider numerous regulations, the concerns of neighbors, and practical site factors.
EcoVerde is making compost at the right location near Akron, NY. The site had to allow for large trucks—haulers–to bring in the food scraps, manure, and bulking agents. The surface had to be hardpacked to handle heavy vehicles, even in wet weather. The location needed to be convenient to the Thruway, but accessible to local farms and sources of feedstock and inputs. Ideally the site would have a building, to allow work to be done in inclement weather, and permit a covered bagging operation. Done!
Bringing in the Organics
EcoVerde trucks collect food scraps in wheeled totes from grocery stores, event centers, and restaurants. (Coming soon: Municipal drop-offs for residential food waste.) Other haulers also bring food scraps. The food waste is dumped onto piles of wood chips that absorb excess moisture and minimize odors. In accordance with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulations, EVO mixes food into the woody material the same day. We also add manure (primarily horse) with bedding, leaves and other natural materials. (Feedstock, including yard waste, wood chips, and manure with bedding stands by in piles to use as needed.)
The mixed material (food waste plus woody matter) is then moved into windrows—ideally 100 to 200 feet long, and as high and wide as the equipment permits (typically 5-10 feet high.) EVO’s crew monitor pile temperatures to support decomposition, turning the windrows when the internal heat becomes too high or too low. Maintaining temperatures between 131 to 170 degrees F permits aerobic microorganisms to break down organic matter and destroy harmful bacteria, weed seeds, and non-persistent herbicides and pesticides.
(Note: Unlike home composting operations, this process does allow meat and dairy products to be included. The piles can be maintained at sufficiently hot temperatures for long enough periods to destroy pathogens, and the high heat discourages rodents. EcoVerde is pleased to be able to compost meat and dairy products to increase recycling and reduce disposal.)
Finally, the curing process begins.
As the high temperature phase ends, selected windrows are left to cure or age. Temperatures are checked and piles occasionally turned. Ultimately product temperature comes within ten degrees or less of outside air, the material consists of small pieces rather than identifiable chunks of original input, and the smell is pleasantly earthy. It’s compost!
EcoVerde periodically sends compost samples to third party, certified labs to measure various compost characteristics, such as pH, organic matter, basic nutrients, etc. This enables us to ensure quality and consistency and informs our process controls so we can bring you the quality products you want.
Out the Door
EcoVerde screens its product, to prepare it for selling in bulk and in bags online and at local garden centers.
With help from the EcoVerde crew, on the right site, mother nature’s miracle has been accomplished: Great Compost, ready for your yard, garden or farm!