What’s Composting’s Big Wet Secret?

PurPod100 is a successful innovation for many reasons. One of the most important is that it can break down in as little as 5 weeks in well-managed composting processes — like most food waste.

But what makes for well-managed composting processes? “Get the moisture level right,” is a good way to think about items in a composting pile. Too much moisture and the microorganisms that do the work of aerobic composting will drown. Too little and they will dry out and die before the composting process is completed.

Years of experience and research have taught the solid waste professionals who run municipal and industrial-scale composting systems how to get the right mix needed to generate the best quality compost and how to do it in the most efficient ways. They will tell you that the right amount of moisture matters – a moisture level of about 40 – 60% is great.

In any composting process most of that humidity comes directly from the material put into it. Municipal and industrial officials have lots of techniques to ensure the right of amount of moisture is available throughout their composting piles and processes. One common way is to spray water directly onto the pile. Many composting systems operators place their compostable waste into tunnels that feature sprinkler systems. Through regular, carefully controlled watering of the compost, those operators can speed the breakdown of everything in that tunnel. The many compost operations that are completely outdoors look to rain and other precipitation to help too.

Regular turning of the piles is another way that waste professionals ensure high humidity in their aerobic composting operations. Just as someone doing home composting digs and turns the compost pile regularly to mix it up well, municipal or industrial workers do something similar. They send large machines that grind their way slowly through the steaming high piles of composting material to turn everything over and remix it. This helps to break up pockets in a windrow that may be much moister than necessary or too dry.

All this is important for PurPod100. Extensive testing by waste professional in the United States and Canada shows that large scale aerobic composting systems with moisture levels of about 40% are great environments for the pod to break down and deliver the results that consumers and waste management professionals expect.