Composter’s Arch Nemesis: Contamination

Compost facilities across the United States encounter common challenges in the extraction of man-made inerts, commonly referred to as trash or contaminants, from organic materials. These inerts, which may include plastic, textiles, glass, and non-decomposable objects, pose difficulties during the composting process, making it arduous to separate them once they reach the facility. Some contaminants, such as glass, present greater hazards than others, with plastic proving particularly challenging to eliminate.

Recognizing these obstacles as significant barriers, the experts at e3 aimed to highlight viable solutions that could enhance the decontamination process and ultimately yield composters a higher-quality end product. On October 18th, our team conducted a demonstration featuring waste screening equipment and a mobile wind sifter at the Compost Central Recycling Center in Mecklenburg County. The demonstration proved highly successful, achieving a remarkable 90% removal of contaminants.

Decontamination through a mobile Spaleck screener 175W and a mobile Westeria AirBasic windsifter

e3’s Powerful Solutions

For this demonstration, we supplied a mobile Spaleck screener 175W and a mobile Westeria AirBasic windsifter. Initially, the material was introduced into the screen, generating three fractions: a large fraction (>2″) designated as waste, a middle-sized fraction (<2″ / >3/8″), and a small fraction (<3/8″) characterized as “gorgeous compost,” as noted by our technical manager. The middle fraction was subsequently processed through the wind sifter separator, which effectively eliminated 90% of plastic film and contaminants. The wind sifter then produced two fractions—mulch and nuggets—allowing flexibility for mixing or separate utilization based on facility priorities.

The demonstration proved immensely valuable for both our team and participants. We are firm in our belief that contamination poses a significant challenge for composters, and we are dedicated to offering innovative recycling solutions. Our mobile Westeria wind sifter is available for rentals and trials.

For those interested in scheduling a discovery call, material trial, or demonstration, please reach out to our sales team using our contact form. For the latest industry updates and events visit the U.S. Composting Council website.

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