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Commercial Composting vs. Home Composting: What’s the Difference?

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What is Composting?

Composting is the process of turning organic materials into a nutrient-rich resource to be used with soil. Through a controlled process that utilizes water, plant, and food waste, these materials are decomposed at an accelerated rate.

What Is Commercial Composting?

Commercial composting, also referred to as industrial composting, is composting on a larger scale than at-home composting.

Waste piles are carefully monitored and managed, allowing for the decomposition of materials that home compost piles would usually have difficulty with because they are not continuously controlled or managed.

How Does Commercial Composting Work?

If commercial composting is available in your area, collection bins are distributed to homes and businesses to gather organic waste.

The bin is then collected and the contents are added to large composting piles at the composting facility.

There, one of three methods is used to process the organic matter:

Windrows: long rows of waste are aerated by mechanical turning.

In-vessel: waste is placed into a controlled vessel and physically turned.

Aerated static pile: piles of waste are layered with branches or wood chips to allow the passage of air and a network of pipes move air through each pile.

What Is At-Home Composting?

At-home composting, also referred to as residential composting, is the process of performing composting on a small scale.

Composting piles can be kept indoors or outdoors and are usually kept in a bin.

How Does Residential Composting Work?

Compost piles or bins are kept in a shady area and maintained with moisture, green waste, and proper turning.

Piles are kept moist to facilitate decomposition. When composting is done at home, the process can take up to two years to produce usable compost.

So, What’s The Difference Between Home Vs Commercial Composting?

Home composting cannot process as many types of organic matter as commercial composting can. Some materials, like compostable foodservice products, will not decompose fully in an at-home composting pile.

Compost made in a commercial composting site can be resold into the community and used to fertilize soil.

Organic material accepted at commercial composting sites tends to require higher constant composting temperatures than material recommended to be added into at-home piles.


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