© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Biowaste is commonly the largest fraction of municipal solid waste (MSW) in developing countries. Although composting is an effective method to treat source separated biowaste (SSB), there are certain limitations in terms of operation, partly due to insufficient control to the variability of SSB quality, which affects process kinetics and product quality. This study assesses the variability of the SSB physicochemical quality in a composting facility located in a small town of Colombia, in which SSB collection was performed twice a week. Likewise, the influence of the SSB physicochemical variability on the variability of compost parameters was assessed. Parametric and non-parametric tests (i.e. Student's t-test and the Mann-Whitney test) showed no significant differences in the quality parameters of SSB among collection days, and therefore, it was unnecessary to establish specific operation and maintenance regulations for each collection day. Significant variability was found in eight of the twelve quality parameters analyzed in the inlet stream, with corresponding coefficients of variation (CV) higher than 23%. The CVs for the eight parameters analyzed in the final compost (i.e. pH, moisture, total organic carbon, total nitrogen, C/N ratio, total phosphorus, total potassium and ash) ranged from 9.6% to 49.4%, with significant variations in five of those parameters (CV > 20%). The above indicate that variability in the inlet stream can affect the variability of the end-product. Results suggest the need to consider variability of the inlet stream in the performance of composting facilities to achieve a compost of consistent quality.
- Source separated organics
- Substrate quality