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Environmental impacts of decentralised composting of organic wastes: greenhouse gas emissions, nutrient leaching, sanitation of organic wastes.

Project Leader
Type of Research
Applied Research
Project partners
Compost - Development and Consulting, HOCHBERGSTR. 3, 2380 PERCHTOLDSDORF, Austria.
Function of the Project Partner: Koordinator

Further information:

Amon Thomas, Project Staff
Wagentristl Helmut, Project Staff
Refenner Karl, Project Staff (bis 30.09.2021)
Amon Barbara, Project Staff
Moitzi Gerhard, Project Staff
Kryvoruchko Vitaliy, Project Staff (bis 29.02.2008)
BOKU Research Units
Division of Agricultural Engineering
Experimental Farm Großenzersdorf
Funded by
Amt der Niederösterreichischen Landesregierung, Landhausplatz 1, A-3109 St. Pölten, Austria
Amt der Steiermärkischen Landesregierung, Entenplatz 1, 8020 Graz, Austria
City Council of Vienna, Municipal Department 48, 1082 Wien, Austria
Amt der Salzburger Landesregierung, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Amt der Oberösterreichischen Landesregierung, Kärntnerstraße 12, 4020 Linz, Austria
Regional Government of Tyrol, Eduard- Wallnöfer- Platz 3, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management , Stubenring 1, A-1012 Wien, Austria
Sustainable management of organic wastes aims at guaranteeing a constant and high product quality as well as low emissions during the composting and recycling process. When the separate collection of organic wastes was introduced, many Austrian provinces voted for a promotion of decentralised composting of organic wastes. Households were encouraged to compost organic wastes in their gardens and not deliver them to public composting plants. It was postulated that this should reduce transport, logistics of collecting organic wastes, and capacity of public composting plants. Households can apply the produced compost in their gardens and thus improve soil properties and reduce mineral fertiliser input.

The research project aims at investigating the environmental impacts of decentralised composting of organic wastes in households. Greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient leaching during the composting process are investigated under field conditions. Sanitation of the organic wastes during the composting process is monitored. The quality of the produced compost is assessed according to the Austrian guidelines on compost quality. Economics and environmental impacts of decentralised composting are quantified and potentials of this management option to recycle organic wastes are shown.

Gaseous emissions are quantified with the large open dynamic chamber developed by the Institute of Agricultural, Environmental and Energy Engineering. The large chamber enables for the first time the continuos measurement of gaseous emissions during the whole composting process under field conditions. It is thus possible to quantify gaseous emissions throughout the composting process including all relevant stages of aerobic decomposition of organic wastes. Qualitative aspects such as sanitation and compost quality are monitored, as well. A full assessment of environmental impacts of decentralised composting is possible including economical aspects of resource management.

Since July 2000 an additional aspect of organic waste composting is investigated. Emissions during composting of three organic substrates (heaps of 10 m3 each) are quantified: organic household wastes, sewage sludge and grass residues. This enables the assessment of emissions in dependency on the substrate. According to common practice, the heaps are turned in a weekly basis.
agricultural ecology; environmental protection;
waste management; decentralised composting; greenhouse gas emissions;

Amon, B., Fröhlich, M. (2006): Ammoniakemissionen aus frei gelüfteten Ställen und Wirtschaftsdüngerlagerstätten für Rinder.
[KTBL-Tagung „Emissionen der Tierhaltung – Messung, Beurteilung und Minderung von Gasen, Stäuben und Keimen“, Bad Staffelstein, Germany, 5. – 7. Dezember]

In: KTBL (Eds), KTBL-Schrift 449, pp 49 – 64. , KTBL-Tagung „Emissionen der Tierhaltung – Messung, Beurteilung und Minderung von Gasen, Stäuben und Keimen“, 5. – 7. Dezember, Kloster Banz, Bad Staffelstein; ISBN: 978-3-939371-19-9


Amon, B. (2006): Ammonia and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Solid Manure.

EAGER Meeting, February 1-2 2006, Laxenburg FullText

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