As a start up we wanted to get a composting facility off the ground at the lowest initial cost possible. On day one that meant borrowing machinery from our gracious neighbors to build and turn piles of compost. Slowly, we obtained grant funding and were able to purchase some of the most critical equipment needed. As we’ve grown and developed we have become interested in improving and advancing our technology (although still at the lowest cost possible).
The most recent technological jump we’ve made has been adding forced aeration to the composting process. Perforated pipes laid underneath the piles allow us to blow oxygen into the pile which amazingly does numerous things: allows us to more closely manage oxygen levels, reduce the amount of turning using machinery (read: fossil fuel intensive machinery), speeds up throughput (by adding more oxygen) and increases the footprint efficiency (we can pile more material on the same space). The goal of this technology is to allow us to produce 2-4 times the volume of compost on the same one-acre pad we have. Thanks to some old blowers donated by Recology we are up and running with three zones of aeration. We have just completed the transition, so the jury is still out, but so far it seems to be positive.
A second technology update has been the addition of a new screener. We have been looking since March for a good (cheap) used screener for our final product. Again graciously, Tom Walter from Pacific Rock & Recycle has been allow us to rent his screener, but it was too small for our volume of material. After months of searching, a investigatory trip to Lost Hills, California, much negotiating and a sweet loan deal from Centerpointe we are now the owners of a new-to-us screener.
Big thanks to Peter Moon and Harold Ruppert at 02 Compost, everyone at Crestline, Dave, Larry, Ame, & John at Recology, Tim & Jason at Ferguson, Tom at Pacific Rock, Mark at GrinderCrusherScreen and John Gass at Centerpointe.