Albion’s ABC’s of Waste Management – O

O      Open Air Windrow Composting

Open Air Windrow Composting (OAW) is a process used primarily for organic matter such as garden or animal waste. These materials are piled in long rows in which naturally occurring microbes feed on to break down and turn into compost.

Organic materials gathered from multiple sources including Council’s seasonal garden waste kerbside collections or recycling centres are used in this process however food waste is not suitable as it requires another process in which it is enclosed rather than in open air. However, the garden waste can contain such items as twigs, leaves grass clippings and prunings while larger items such as tree stumps and branches are too bulky to broken down by the Open Air process and require shredding prior.

After the materials are placed in their large, long rows the natural bacteria gets to works breaking the organic matter. This process can generate a lot of heat and even give off steam, with it being note that the inside of a windrow can reach temperatures of up to 55°C. Throughout the process the rows are turned and it can take typically 12 to 16 weeks to complete.

Once completed the product is graded and sold. This allows any contaminants or materials not quite broken down to be removed. The compost sold may be put to multiple uses as agricultural soil conditioners or it could even be used on golf courses.