Frequently Asked Questions

We gets tons of questions about the industrial composting solutions we build for our customers, and some straight-up, “down to earth” answers is a great way to learn more about Advanced Composting Technologies, our high performance composting solutions, and our Company principles.

Here you’ll find a wealth of information about the Industrial Composting process, environmental impact factors,  custom solutions for specific industry applications, lots of case study examples from our field installations, and many, many tips from our experts.  Best of all, if you can’t find your question already addressed, just fill out the form to the right and we’ll answer your specific question!

I don’t see how Composting can possibly service the sheer volume of waste we have to process at our site.   What volumes can you handle?

A very appropriate question, but something that we address in several ways; first our industrial composting systems are much different than what you may have learned about in science class or read about in a home gardening or consumer use application.  Our “forced air” process and proprietary recipe for carbon and nitrogen ratios develop a catalyst for nature’s own forces that is pretty remarkable.   As an example, a single compost bin for one of our agricultural solutions can process over 10,000 pounds of large organic material in less than 60 days!   For Food Waste, the same volume could be decomposed in as little as 15 days!   Some of the “old school” styles of composting, known as Static Pile Composting are not very robust for industrial applications, and the ACT solutions provide significant enhancements to the basic principle.   We have some comparisons to Static Pile Composting to help you understand the differences.

Of premier importance however, is that the ACT Composting solution is designed both around your Application, and your volumes.   Here at the ACT website, you can see a number of our Application solutions by market type, so those pages can help you see examples of our installations in a real world environment.    In our proposal stage, we help you evaluate the volume of waste to be processed, and we configure your installation to service your specific need.   Thus, you only build out a system to the scale of your individual need.   Additionally, should significant composting volumes increase, we can easily add on to your existing system in building-block fashion, keeping full utility to your existing installation.

Our situation is unique that we have huge variances in amount of waste that we may need to process on a given day or week.  How do your ACT systems handle huge spikes in waste volume?

Actually, the ability to “scale” the amount of variance in new waste into our system is one of its most significant benefits, and a feature our customers like the most.  Much different from “drum” or closed processing units, our covered bin system allows for almost infinite variance of new waste material; limited only by the maximum capacities of the system as a whole.   A great example of this is in our DOT/Roadkill application.  In a recent real world test, we processed almost 10,000 pounds of deer carcasses that represented an exceptional influx of waste feedstock into one of our systems.   The ACT system was able to fully accommodate this bold, unpredictable inflow of large animals, and deliver clean, odor free compost in less than 60 days!  For more information on systems sizing, visit the Application solution sections at the website for more examples from our real-world installations, or our Bin Sizing & Configuration section.

I’m located in the mid-West, how do I do business with ACT?

Great question.  We have two great options to service you.   First, we can discuss our Turnkey solutions which include our pre-construction design services, site construction supervision, and actual install of your system, and on-site consultation on best practices for daily operation.  Another great option is our “kit” package, which is an offering that will configure all of the components of our industrial, forced air  system into a kit that can be shipped anywhere in the world.   This option allows you to build out a system with the lowest possible investment, and still achieve our ACT composting performance metrics.

How do your systems perform in very cold, freezing weather?

Our composting systems are able to operate fully, and with high performance, across all seasons and temperature ranges.  As example, you could take a fully frozen carcass of a large roadkill animal and load it into a working ACT bin, and have it become active ‘fuel’ into the biological process already underway in the compost system.  To draw a comparison, if the compost ‘fire’ is underway, adding a frozen log to the mix will quickly be integrated to burn, and to keep the fire going.

With an open bin system, it sure seems like there will be lots of odor.  How do you deal with the odor?

Odor consideration is a question we get a lot, and logically so.   We’ve all smelled the rotting garbage at a dumpster, visited a landfill, or smelled day’s old roadkill.   Without getting overly scientific to answer your question, many of the design elements of our system actually serve to mitigate odor development.  Our Forced Air process creates significant heat within the compost bin, our aeration process of the closed loop leachate control system is specifically aimed at odor control.   The impact of odor at our installations can best be described by our actual user’s own testimonials.  I encourage you to view the Customer “Testimonials” tab at our Homepage for some insight on this from our customers.  Odor is NOT a major problem with our systems.

I’m trying to evaluate several options for mortality processing.  Do you have any data to help me compare your solution to other options I might deploy?

Actually, we do have a simple chart that will provide a good overview of many of the considerations that go into your choice of systems.  Incineration, rendering services, and some method of composting are the three major options to evaluate.

What can we do with the compost that comes out of your ACT system?   Is it safe to use?

Compost that has been fully processed through our systems can be used in a number of ways, but essentially the “output” from our systems is clean, odor free, and stable for various applications.   For some of our Agricultural/Farm installations, there are distinct regulations that require certain farm wastes stay on the farm, and under specific Environmental guidelines.  Most farmers are aware of these regulations.   At our non-farm sites we always consult and recommend with our customers an Environmental stewardship operation of the site, and help clients insure their site conforms to any regulations for operations.   We have some sites that have approval for composted product to be used similar to how you might use landscape mulch in a residential environment.   Our sites have met with approvals from EPA, Dept. of Agriculture, NRCS, and various local and state agencies.

How do I know when composting is complete in one of the bins since it is all covered with a cap of sawdust?

This will vary quite a bit with the application and installation.  As you might image, it takes a longer cycle to fully compost a 600 pound hog vs. food waste.  ACT works with each of our customers on practices and guidelines to monitor the heat and moisture within their individual bin environment so that the system is operating at peak performance.   Our experience and technology in systems design allows for predictable outcomes once each site settles into a routine of processing.

Why is forced air composting so hot?

Forced air composting will produce consistently higher temperatures than static pile composting. Higher temperatures are due to increased microbial activity leading to complete pathogen kill and reduced composting time. This is only possible in the continuously aerobic environment created by forced aeration where normal temperatures are above 150°F for at least 15 consecutive days.

Why has forced air composting been proven to be the best solution for animal mortality management at farms?

ACT’s Mortality Management Systems have been approved for use on poultry and swine farms by both STATE and FEDERAL agencies. Forced aeration mechanically moves the air up through the composting pile creating continuous aerobic conditions throughout the composting process, and thus significantly speeds up the natural decomposition process.  Static pile composting is limited by the lack of oxygen. Forced aeration removes this typical composting limitation resulting in minimal odor, a more thorough breakdown of the mortality, and in a significantly shorter period of decomposition time.