Organics remain the largest single component of municipal solid waste (MSW), and while its rate of decomposition is relatively fast compared to petroleum-based materials such as plastic, the sheer amount of it can pose challenges for cities trying to effectively divert food waste. Whether it’s organic waste, yard trimmings, or even biodegradable packaging, optimizing systems to manage the organic waste issue is important.
Composting is currently the most environmentally beneficial way to handle organic waste today and is among the cornerstones of a more circular economy. It also keeps food waste out of landfills and enriches the soil.
Here, we look at how commercial composting works, with a special focus on the city’s latest push towards zero waste. Commercial composting has the potential to eliminate waste, revitalize soil, and combat global warming, here’s how.

What is Commercial Composting?

At its most basic level, commercial composting works in exactly the same way as the compost piles you’re used to—it is, after all, a natural process of decomposition. The perfect compost pile requires a range of inputs: green inputs such as nitrogen-rich food waste; brown inputs such as dry, carbon-rich yard trimmings; oxygen; and water. When combined, these elements encourage the growth of microorganisms which raise the temperature inside the compost pile and break down the organic matter over time.
While many commercial composting facilities are similar to those you find in your garden, just on a larger scale, there are other methods of dealing with organic waste. These methods can help to deal with problematic materials such as meat and bones, meaning commercial composting has the potential to deal with all kinds of organic waste, unlike a simple compost pile.
Naturally, commercial-scale facilities require a greater degree of organization, including “pile” management and logistical coordination when collecting materials, alongside sensitivity to the local environment and where residents are located. However, the end product (i.e. the compost), is usually much higher quality than an average home pile. In part, this is due to careful management and a broader range of organic inputs available.

Commercial Composting System

In-Vessel Composting – This method of commercial composting uses aerobic reactions to break down waste. Organics are placed in a large composting bin and hermetically sealed, with mechanical mixing taken. In this carefully controlled environment, organics such as meat and bones can be processed.
In many cases, commercial compost piles will be covered in order to keep off excess rainwater, while pests and odors are kept to a minimum through careful management. The final product may be sold to consumers or used in municipality projects, creating truly circular waste management solutions for organic materials.