alexa Characterization of food waste and bulking agents for composting.
Environmental Sciences

Environmental Sciences

Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation

Author(s): Adhikari BK, Barrington S, Martinez J, King S

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Abstract The characterization of food waste (FW) and locally available bulking agents (BA) are a prerequisite to optimizing compost recipes. This study measured the variation in FW characteristics (pH, dry matter (DM), carbon (C), wet bulk density and Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN)) produced by a restaurant and a community kitchen in downtown Montreal, Canada from May to August 2004. The project also measured the mass of FW produced by another restaurant and a group of 20-48 households, from June to August 2004. Locally available BA (hay, straw, pine wood shavings, cardboard, left over cattle feed and wheat residue pellets) were also characterized to formulate composting recipes based on the FW characteristics observed during a period representative of winter and summer conditions. Residential and restaurant FW characteristics varied significantly over the summer months, although the mass produced remained constant at 0.61 and 0.56 kg capita(-1)day(-1), respectively. In addition, the number of customers served by the restaurant increased by nearly 50\% from June to August. The BA with the highest moisture adsorption capacity was found to be the wheat residue pellets, followed by chopped straw. Wheat residue pellets, chopped hay and left over cattle feed all presented a balanced C/N ratio. Wheat residue pellets and wheat straw, chopped hay and cardboard demonstrated neutral pH values. Based on the variable FW characteristics and monthly production rates, the formulation of recipes indicates that compost facilities must be flexible enough to handle seasonal variations of as much as 50\% by volume. This article was published in Waste Manag and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation

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