The Composting Handbook

A how-to and why manual for farm, municipal, institutional and commercial composters

Edited by :
Robert Rynk, Professor Emeritus, Cobleskill College of Agriculture and Technology, State University of New York, USA
Ginny Black, Compost Research and Education Foundation (CREF) and Minnesota Composting Council (MNCC), USA
Jane Gilbert, Carbon Clarity, Ltd., Rushden, Northamptonshire, UK
Johannes Biala, Centre for Recycling of Organic Waste & Nutrients (CROWN), The University of Queensland, Australia
Jean Bonhotal, Cornell Waste Management Institute, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
Mary Schwarz, Cornell Waste Management Institute, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
Leslie Cooperband, Ph.D., Founder and Co-Owner of Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, Former Professor Soil Science, University of Wisconsin Madison, WI, USA

The authoritative, all-in-one guide to composting principles and practices for commercial-scale composting operations


  • Created in conjunction with the Compost Research and Education Foundation (CREF)
  • Includes the latest information on composting and compost, providing the first comprehensive resource in decades
  • Written with focus on both academic and industrial insights and advances


The Composting Handbook provides a single guide to the science, principles and best practices of composting for large-scale composting operations facing a variety of opportunities and challenges converting raw organic materials into a useful and marketable product.
Composting is a well-established and increasingly important method to recycle and add value to organic by-products. Many, if not most, of the materials composting treats are discarded materials that would otherwise place a burden on communities, industries, farms and the environment. Composting converts these materials into a valuable material, compost, that regenerates soils improving soils for plant growth and environmental conservation.
The Composting Handbook expands on previously available resources by incorporating new information, new subjects and new practices, drawing its content from current scientific principles, research, engineering and industry experience. In both depth and breadth, it covers the knowledge that a compost producer needs to succeed. Topics include the composting process, methods of composting, equipment, site requirements, environmental issues and impacts, business knowledge, safety, and the qualities, uses and markets for the compost products.
The Composting Handbook is an invaluable reference for composting facility managers and operators, prospective managers and operators, regulators, policy makers, environmental advocates, educators, waste generators and managers and generally people interested in composting as a business or a solution. It is also appropriate as a textbook for college courses and a supplemental text for training courses about composting or organic waste management.

Table of Contents

1. Why Compost?
2. Enterprise Planning
3. The Composting Process
4. Composting Feedstocks
5. Passively Aerated Composting Methods, Including Turned Windrows
6. Forced-Aeration Composting, Aerated Static Pile and Similar Methods
7. Contained Composting Methods and Methods Summary
8. Composting Animal Mortalities
9. Compost Operations and Equipment
10. Site Planning, Development and Environmental Management
11. Process Management
12. Odor Management and Community Relations
13. Safety and Health Principles and Practices for Composting Facilities
14. Composting Facility Management
15. Compost Characteristics and Quality
16. Compost Use
17. Compost Use for Disease Suppression
18. Compost Marketing and Sales
19. Composting Economics



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Compost Research and Education Foundation (CREF)
Physical Address:
1053 E Whitaker Mill Rd
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Raleigh, NC 27604

Mailing Address:
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