Environmental assessment of home composting

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In this study the environmental burdens of home composting were determined using the life cycle assessment (LCA) tool. Data used for the LCA study such as gas emissions (CH4, N2O, NH3 and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)), tools and composter characteristics were obtained from an experimental home composting process of leftovers of raw fruits and vegetables (LRFV). Stable compost with a high content of nitrogen and organic matter was obtained. Neither pathogens nor phytotoxic compounds were found in the final compost. In relation to gaseous emissions, only volatile organic compounds (0.32 kg VOC/Mg LRFV) were detected, even though ammonia, methane and nitrous oxide emissions were also measured. Regarding environmental burdens, the composter was the major contributor to the total home composting process impact for the impact categories of abiotic depletion, ozone layer depletion, and cumulative energy demand. Gaseous emissions (based on our own measurements and literature data) caused the greatest contribution to the acidification, eutrophication, global warming and photochemical oxidation potentials. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-904
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2010


  • Backyard composting
  • Environmental impacts
  • Gas emissions
  • Home composting
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Municipal solid waste
  • Waste management


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