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Special Issue "Organic Waste Management"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Dimitrios Komilis

Department of Environmental Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, Kimmeria Campus, Xanthi, GR 671 00, Greece
Website | E-Mail
Phone: (+30) 2541079391
Interests: compost quality and compost stability indices; landfill processes; solid waste characterization and decomposition processes; life cycle analysis and mathematical optimization in solid waste management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

During the past two decades, under the frameworks of sustainability and circular economy, there has been a high legislative focus on the management of organic waste and biowaste to prevent it from landfilling and to promote its valorization. According to two key European directives (1999/31/EC and 2008/98/EC), organic waste needs to be diverted from landfilling at rates higher than 65% and biowaste needs to be separated at the source at levels higher than 10% to up to 50%. The typical hierarchy pyramid on solid waste actions places biological organic waste management techniques on top of the thermal treatment based energy recovery techniques rendering the former (i.e., composting, anaerobic digestion) more attractive to implement. Low technology composting of organic waste at the community or household level (which is highly promoted lately by municipalities) could be considered as a re-use and even a prevention technique, instead of a recycling technique, which would automatically promote it to the highest position of the waste hierarchy. In addition to typical end-of-the pipe treatment methods, much focus has been recently given on valorization techniques that aim to recover useful products during organic waste biological processes (e.g., recovery of enzymes during solid state fermentation, hydrogen production during anaerobiosis, biomass derived bioethanol) in addition to the typical compost and methane recovery. It is, thus, evident that the term “waste” will soon be fully abandoned and be, likely, soon replaced by the term “by-product”.

This Special Issue will focus on biological organic (solid) waste management techniques, as viewed through the prism of circular economy, and will cover the following state-of-the-art topics:

·         Industrial and medium scale MBT facilities.
·         MBT technology: Aerobic versus anaerobic processes.
·         Compost, CLO, digestate and other MBT outputs: Quality aspects and indices.
·         Valorization of organic waste and recovery of useful compounds
·         Organic waste source separation schemes: decentralized vs. centralized schemes
·         Home and community composting
·         Biochar as a soil amendment.
·         Waste-based bioethanol generation
·         Hydrogen production via anaerobic digestion.
·         Life cycle analysis in organic waste management.

Dr. Dimitrios Komilis
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • anaerobic processes
  • biochar
  • bioethanol
  • compost quality indices
  • home composting
  • hydrogen production
  • life cycle analysis
  • MBT technology
  • organic waste collection
  • organic waste valorization

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Effect of Sugarcane Straw and Goat Manure on Soil Nutrient Transformation and Bacterial Communities
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2361; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072361
Received: 8 June 2018 / Revised: 4 July 2018 / Accepted: 5 July 2018 / Published: 6 July 2018
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Abstract
Crop residue and animal manure as a soil amendment have been recognized as a feasible agricultural practice owing to its contribution in improving the soil fertility (SF). The primary advantages of this practice are determined by the activities of soil microorganisms. However, goat
[...] Read more.
Crop residue and animal manure as a soil amendment have been recognized as a feasible agricultural practice owing to its contribution in improving the soil fertility (SF). The primary advantages of this practice are determined by the activities of soil microorganisms. However, goat manure (M), sugarcane straw (S), and goat manure plus straw (MS) amendments influence soil bacteria, their activities, and SF in clay-loam soil remains undefinable. Therefore, this study distinguished the efficacy of M, MS, and S amendment on soil enzyme activities and the availability of nutrients, including various bacterial populations in clay-loamy soil with respect to two different phases (50 and 100 days). In order to analyze the bacterial structure and their activities, we employed high-throughput sequencing (HTS) and soil enzyme activity (SEA) tests. Soil amended with M and MS not only significantly enhanced nutrient availability, including C, P, and N, soil pH, as well as SEA for C and N cycles in both phases. Additionally, the increase in nutrient availability was greater in M- and MS-amended soils in the second phase (100 days) compared to the M- and S-amended soils in the first phase (50 days). Moreover, plant growth promoting and lignocellulose degrading bacterial genera were enhanced under M- and MS-amended soil compared to S-amended soil in both phases. Distance-based redundancy analysis (dbRDA) showed that soil pH, carbon-nitrogen ratio (C:N), and nitrates (NO3) were inducing the fewest changes, while total nitrogen (TN), total carbon (TC), available nitrogen (AN), available phosphorus (AP), total phosphorus (TP), available potassium (AK), and ammonium (NH4+) were the main operators in terms of change in bacterial populations. In general, we observed that M and MS are better amendment sources as compared to S amendment in order to enhance the SF in the clay-loamy soil in both phases, but greater fertility was exhibited in the second phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Waste Management)
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Open AccessArticle Suitability of Different Agricultural and Urban Organic Wastes as Feedstocks for the Production of Biochar—Part 1: Physicochemical Characterisation
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2265; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072265
Received: 25 May 2018 / Revised: 22 June 2018 / Accepted: 23 June 2018 / Published: 2 July 2018
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Abstract
Biochar is traditionally made from clean lignocellulosic or waste materials that create no competition for land use. In this paper, the suitability of alternative feedstocks of agricultural and urban origins are explored. A range of biochars was produced from holm oak and a
[...] Read more.
Biochar is traditionally made from clean lignocellulosic or waste materials that create no competition for land use. In this paper, the suitability of alternative feedstocks of agricultural and urban origins are explored. A range of biochars was produced from holm oak and a selection of organic wastes, such as greenhouse wastes, greenwastes, a cellulosic urban waste, municipal press cake and pig manure. They were characterized and assessed for their potential agricultural use. The physicochemical properties of biochars were mainly driven by the characteristics of feedstocks and the pyrolysis temperature. The use of pre-treated lignocellulosic residues led to biochars with a high concentration of ash, macro and micronutrients, whereas raw lignocellulosic residues produced biochars with characteristics similar to traditional wood biochars. All biochars were found to be suitable for agricultural use according to the international standards for the use of biochars as soil amendments, with the exception of a biochar from urban origin, which presented high levels of Cr and Pb. The use of these biochars as soil amendments requires a thorough agronomical evaluation to assess their impact on soil biogeochemical cycles and plant growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Waste Management)
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Open AccessArticle Suitability of Different Agricultural and Urban Organic Wastes as Feedstocks for the Production of Biochar—Part 2: Agronomical Evaluation as Soil Amendment
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2077; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062077
Received: 25 May 2018 / Revised: 13 June 2018 / Accepted: 14 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2369 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The recycling of organic wastes in agriculture contributes to a circular economy by returning to the soil nutrients and reducing the need of mineral-based fertilisers. An agronomical and environmental evaluation of a series of biochars prepared from a range of urban and agricultural
[...] Read more.
The recycling of organic wastes in agriculture contributes to a circular economy by returning to the soil nutrients and reducing the need of mineral-based fertilisers. An agronomical and environmental evaluation of a series of biochars prepared from a range of urban and agricultural wastes was performed by soil incubation experiments and pot trials. The impact of biochar addition (alone, or in combination with either mineral or organic fertiliser) on soil N, P and micronutrients was studied, as well as the potential limitations for their agricultural use (associated to phytotoxicity and presence of potentially toxic metals). The type and origin of feedstock only had a minor impact on the response of biochar in soil and its interaction with the most important nutrient cycles. The presence of ashes in biochars prepared from urban and pre-treated organic wastes caused an increase in the availability of N and P in soil, compared to raw lignocellulosic biochar. All tested biochars exhibited favourable properties as soil amendments and no phytotoxic effects or negative impacts on soil nutrient dynamics were observed during the soil incubation experiments. Their agricultural use is only limited by the presence of potentially toxic metals in biochars prepared from feedstocks of urban origins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Waste Management)
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Open AccessArticle Liquid-Phase Respiration Activity Assays to Assess Organic Waste Stability: A Comparison of Two Tests
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1441; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051441
Received: 6 April 2018 / Revised: 26 April 2018 / Accepted: 3 May 2018 / Published: 5 May 2018
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Abstract
The stability of twenty-seven composts and organic substrates (including raw, less stable and stable materials) was assessed using two different liquid phase tests. One of the tests was introduced in 1998 and was based on the calculation of a Specific Oxygen Uptake Rate
[...] Read more.
The stability of twenty-seven composts and organic substrates (including raw, less stable and stable materials) was assessed using two different liquid phase tests. One of the tests was introduced in 1998 and was based on the calculation of a Specific Oxygen Uptake Rate (SOUR). The newly introduced liquid phase test presented here is simpler to set-up and to perform than the older liquid phase test and is more representative of the composting process due to its longer experimental duration. It is based on the quantification of oxygen consumption in the headspace of a BOD bottle that contains the liquid-solid solution. The results indicate that a marginal correlation does exist between the main indices calculated from both tests. The correlation was slightly stronger for the indices calculated from the raw materials than from the processed ones. The correlation calculated from the processed substrates was statistically insignificant. The SOUR ranged from 1520 to 3650 mg O2/kg VS-h for the raw materials and from 110 to 1150 mg O2/kg VS-h for the processed materials, respectively. The corresponding stability rate related index (LSRI24) of the new liquid phase test introduced here ranged from 240 to 1180 mg O2/dry kg-h for the raw materials and from 64 to 792 mg O2/dry kg-h for the processed ones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Waste Management)
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Open AccessArticle Adsorption Characteristics of Ammonium Nitrogen and Plant Responses to Biochar Pellet
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1331; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051331
Received: 14 March 2018 / Revised: 10 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 25 April 2018
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Abstract
For feasibility of carbon sequestration as well as in the mitigation of greenhouse gases for application of biochar pellet, this experiment was conducted, focusing on the adsorption characteristics of NH4-N on biochar pellet mixed with different ratios of pig manure compost.
[...] Read more.
For feasibility of carbon sequestration as well as in the mitigation of greenhouse gases for application of biochar pellet, this experiment was conducted, focusing on the adsorption characteristics of NH4-N on biochar pellet mixed with different ratios of pig manure compost. For NH4-N adsorption on biochar pellets, the loading amount of biochar pellet was 211.5 mg in 50 mL of aqueous solution, and the adsorption fitted very well with Langmuir isotherm. The maximum adsorption and removal rates were 2.94 mg g−1 and 92.2%, respectively, in the pellet that contained 90% of biochar. It was also observed, by kinetic models, that NH4-N was adsorbed fast on biochar pellet with a combination ratio of 9:1 of biochar pellet/pig manure. It was further observed that the higher the amount of biochar contained in the biochar pellet, the greater the adsorption of NH4-N. For the plant response observed for lettuce, it was shown that the leaf biomass in plots treated with a 9:1 biochar/pig manure compost increased by approximately 13% compared with the leaf biomass in plots treated with the compost alone. The leaf biomass of the other treatments was higher than that of the control. This implies that the application of biochar pellets, regardless of the biochar contents, might be useful for soil carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas mitigation for agricultural practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Waste Management)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Three Types of Exogenous Organic Carbon on Soil Organic Matter and Physical Properties of a Sandy Technosol
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1146; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041146
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (13411 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Technosols made by covering agricultural soils with coastal sediments need additional organic matter (OM) to be suitable for agricultural use. Climate change will likely increase the frequency and intensity of droughts in several areas. The choice of the nature and quantity of OM
[...] Read more.
Technosols made by covering agricultural soils with coastal sediments need additional organic matter (OM) to be suitable for agricultural use. Climate change will likely increase the frequency and intensity of droughts in several areas. The choice of the nature and quantity of OM to add depends on dose-response curves for soil quality. This study quantifies the influence of three contrasting organic materials (vermicompost (VF), green waste compost (GWC) and dairy manure (DM)) on four soil properties: soil organic carbon, evaporation rate, bulk density and structural stability. Soil was sampled in April and May 2014 in an artificial crop field of the vegetable production basin of Mont Saint-Michel (France) made with sediments from the bay of Mont Saint-Michel in 2013. Increasing the dose of OM increased soil organic carbon from 10 to 45 g C kg−1 dry soil and increased the porosity and the structural stability, thus decreasing compaction. Increasing the dose of OM also decreased the evaporation rate. VF and DM had similar effects, while those of GWC were weaker. Compared to DM, VF had greater biological stability. Therefore, high OM inputs along with soil decompaction can increase drought resistance by increasing rooting depth and water retention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Waste Management)
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of Co-Additives (Biochar and FGD Gypsum) on Ammonia Volatilization during the Composting of Livestock Waste
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 795; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030795
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 5 March 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 13 March 2018
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Abstract
The effectiveness of co-additives for improving livestock waste composting (reduction of air pollution and conservation of nutrients) was investigated. Biochar and Flue gas desulphurization gypsum (FGD gypsum) were used to supplement the composting of a mixture of slaughter waste, swine slurry, and sawdust.
[...] Read more.
The effectiveness of co-additives for improving livestock waste composting (reduction of air pollution and conservation of nutrients) was investigated. Biochar and Flue gas desulphurization gypsum (FGD gypsum) were used to supplement the composting of a mixture of slaughter waste, swine slurry, and sawdust. Different compositions of additives (0% or 5% each, 10% biochar or FGD gypsum) were tested in triplicate on the laboratory scale. In addition, the effects of two different aeration schemes (continuous and intermittent) were also investigated. Ammonia volatilization, physicochemical characteristics, and compost maturity indices were investigated. The results indicated that the use of the co-additive (Biochar and FGD gypsum) during composting of livestock waste led to a reduction of ammonia volatilization by 26–59% and to a 6.7–7.9-fold increase of nitrate accumulation. The total ammonia volatilization of intermittent aeration treatment was lower than that of continuous aeration using co-additives treatment. It was concluded that co-additives (biochar and FGD gypsum) might be utilized in livestock waste composting to reduce ammonia volatilization and improve nutrient conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Waste Management)
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Open AccessArticle Integration of a Communal Henhouse and Community Composter to Increase Motivation in Recycling Programs: Overview of a Three-Year Pilot Experience in Noáin (Spain)
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 690; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030690
Received: 24 January 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 4 March 2018
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Abstract
This paper presents a three-year pilot experience of a new municipal waste management system developed in Navarre, Spain that integrates composting and hens. The aim of this new system is to motivate the general public to participate more in waste prevention programs. The
[...] Read more.
This paper presents a three-year pilot experience of a new municipal waste management system developed in Navarre, Spain that integrates composting and hens. The aim of this new system is to motivate the general public to participate more in waste prevention programs. The Composter-Henhouse (CH) is a compact facility comprised of a henhouse and three composters. This is shared by 30 families who provide the organic part of their kitchen waste to feed the hens. Hens help speed up the composting process by depositing their droppings and turning the organic residue into compost. This study assesses the CH in terms of treatment capacity, the technical adequacy of the composting process, the quality and safety of the compost obtained and some social aspects. Over three years, the CH has managed nearly 16.5 tons of organic waste and produced approximately 5600 kg of compost and more than 6000 high-quality fresh eggs. No problems or nuisances have been reported and the level of animal welfare has been very high. The follow up of the composting process (temperature, volume reduction and compost maturity) and a physicochemical and microbiological analysis of the compost have ensured the proper management of the process. The level of involvement and user satisfaction has been outstanding and the project has presented clear social benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Waste Management)
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Open AccessArticle Improved Precision and Efficiency of a Modified ORG0020 Dynamic Respiration Test Setup for Compost Stability Assessment
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2358; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122358
Received: 21 November 2017 / Revised: 13 December 2017 / Accepted: 14 December 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
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Abstract
The ORG0020 dynamic respiration test is effective at distinguishing source segregated organic waste derived composts across a wide range of stabilities when compared to other standard tests; however, using the original diaphragm pump and manifold setup, the test is affected by variability in
[...] Read more.
The ORG0020 dynamic respiration test is effective at distinguishing source segregated organic waste derived composts across a wide range of stabilities when compared to other standard tests; however, using the original diaphragm pump and manifold setup, the test is affected by variability in flow rate with time and across sample replicate vessels. Here, we demonstrate the use of a multichannel peristaltic pump to deliver a more consistent air flow to individual vessels. Using finished and unfinished industry compost samples from different sites with varying stabilities, we provide evidence of greater precision of the modified setup compared to the original. Furthermore, the reduced need for air flow adjustment resulted in improved running cost efficiency with less labour demand. Analysis of compost sample oxygen demand supports the current test air flow rate of 25–75 mL min−1, although the improved air flow control will enable future narrowing of the acceptable range for better inter-laboratory performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Waste Management)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Efficacy of the Vermicomposts of Different Organic Wastes as “Clean” Fertilizers: State-of-the-Art
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1205; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041205
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 11 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 16 April 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (24956 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Vermicomposting is a process in which earthworms are utilized to convert biodegradable organic waste into humus-like vermicast. Past work, mainly on vermicomposting of animal droppings, has shown that vermicompost is an excellent organic fertilizer and is also imbibed with pest-repellent properties. However, there
[...] Read more.
Vermicomposting is a process in which earthworms are utilized to convert biodegradable organic waste into humus-like vermicast. Past work, mainly on vermicomposting of animal droppings, has shown that vermicompost is an excellent organic fertilizer and is also imbibed with pest-repellent properties. However, there is no clarity whether vermicomposts of organic wastes other than animal droppings are as plant-friendly as the manure-based vermicomposts are believed to be. It is also not clear as to whether the action of a vermicompost as a fertilizer depends on the species of plants being fertilized by it. This raises questions whether vermicomposts are beneficial (or harmful) at all levels of application or if there is a duality in their action which is a function of their rate of application. The present work is an attempt to seek answers to these questions. To that end, all hitherto published reports on the action of vermicomposts of different substrates on different species of plants have been assessed. The study reveals that, in general, vermicomposts of all animal/plant based organic wastes are highly potent fertilizers. They also possess some ability to repel plant pests. The factors that shape these properties have been assessed and the knowledge gaps that need to be bridged have been identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Waste Management)
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Open AccessReview Immobilization of Heavy Metals in Sewage Sludge during Land Application Process in China: A Review
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2020; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9112020
Received: 10 October 2017 / Revised: 31 October 2017 / Accepted: 31 October 2017 / Published: 7 November 2017
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Abstract
The safe disposal of sewage sludge during the process of municipal wastewater treatment has become one of the major concerns of increased production. Land application was thought of as a more economical method for sewage sludge disposal than landfill and incineration. However, the
[...] Read more.
The safe disposal of sewage sludge during the process of municipal wastewater treatment has become one of the major concerns of increased production. Land application was thought of as a more economical method for sewage sludge disposal than landfill and incineration. However, the presence of heavy metals in sewage sludge restricted the use of land application. The environmental risk of heavy metals was dependent on their contents, chemical speciations, and soil characteristics. Composting and chemical immobilization were the commonly used methods to immobilize the heavy metals in sewage sludge. The immobilization mechanism and speciation transformation of heavy metals during the composting process were presented. Aluminosilicate, phosphorus-bearing materials, basic compounds, and sulfides were reviewed as the commonly used chemical immobilizing agents. The problems that occur during the immobilization process were also discussed. The combination of different methods and the modification of chemical immobilizing agents both improved the fixation effect on heavy metals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Waste Management)
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