Entries by Lynn Lucas

What is compost used for?

What is compost used for? “What is compost used for?  What’s the difference between compost and manure, or compost and topsoil, or compost and mulch, or compost and…?” These questions (or some variation thereof) have been posed in Google searches by thousands of McGill Compost website visitors over the years, suggesting a broad lack of understanding on the […]


Is composting food waste wasting food?

Is composting food waste wasting food?  Until recently,  it’s a question that didn’t get asked. Recycling organic matter back to the soil is supposed to be a long term, environmentally prudent, carbon sequestration practice — right?  Glowingly green.  Halo worthy.  Self-righteously gratifying. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on one’s viewpoint, folks are beginning to question all […]


Can I compost cooking oil and grease?

Can I compost cooking oil and grease? Is it possible to compost cooking oil and grease? A lot of cooking fat, oil, and grease (FOG) goes down the kitchen drain.  Commercial kitchens install grease traps to collect the mess before it enters public sewer systems, diverting this waste to alternate disposal. But the typical home […]

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Don’t burn or bury compostables

Is it really a good idea to make compostable waste go away and never come back?  Each year, taxpayers collectively spend millions of dollars to burn or bury compostables.  Much like a tribe of ubiquitous Gollums, they just want garbage — the biodegradable and putrefying fraction of the municipal solid waste stream – to go away and never […]


How to make compost fast

How to make compost fast The desire to make compost fast can be driven by space restrictions, the need for more product, or simple impatience.   It’s a common goal for composters everywhere, from the backyard to industrial facilities. Unfortunately, wishing will never make it so.  The speediest course from raw feedstock to finished quality compost is […]

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What is a composting facility package plant?

What is a composting facility package plant? In the water/wastewater treatment and composting industries, a package plant typically refers to a small, prefabricated unit dropped on-site, ready to connect to the larger system.  A McGill composting facility package plant is different. Since McGill doesn’t build small facilities, its “package” is actually a set of blueprints and specifications for […]

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Does composting release CO2?

Does composting release CO2? Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the composting mass are classified as biogenic. This means the same amount of gas is emitted during decomposition whether the organic material is composted or degrades in a natural setting.  Therefore, these emissions are considered carbon-neutral. Compared to waste management alternatives, it’s the best of the […]


Commercial vs. industrial composting: are they the same?

Commercial vs. industrial composting:  are they the same?  Commercial vs. industrial composting — no, they are not the same, though the terms may be used interchangeably on the web.  But one word has to do with the money trail and the type of organization that owns the facility.  The other is linked to operational scale and/or manufacturing approach.  A government-owned […]

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Topic: healthy soil – compost feeds soil

Compost is soil’s superhero Sure, compost adds nutrients. But that might be this soil amendment’s least important function.  Quite often, articles will mention compost as a replacement for some or all of the nutrients that might be provided to plants through applications of synthetic (man-made) fertilizers.    That’s certainly true.  Compost delivers the macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK), plus a slew of plant-essential […]

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Topic: healthy soil – use compost to manage stormwater

Comparing costs per gallon retained  Soil amendment is one of the least expensive ways to collect and manage stormwater  “Manage water where it falls.”  This sound advice is the foundation of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s Regional Green Infrastructure Plan, a program that identified soil amendment as one of the least expensive ways to manage stormwater.  At 28 cents per gallon, improving soil is […]