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[GreenYes] Re: Apples to Apples

At 02:09 PM 8/11/2006 -0700, Matthew Cotton wrote:
>John -
>>The DST also looks at the VOCs from landfills, and concludes that
>>they are much lower than from composting sites. I don't know why --
>>which was the basis for my question; I would like hard data, rather
>>than 'gut instincts'.
>I think the discrepancy is that organic materials are decomposed
>aerobically at a composting facility, and anaerobically at a
>landfill (that's pretty much a fact, not gut instinct). Comparing a
>composting facility to a landfill on strictly one parameter (like
>VOC emissions) is not reasonable or particularly useful. Yes, the
>VOC emissions will be lower at a landfill, especially non-methane
>emissions, in the same way that a landfill generates (and releases)
>a lot more methane than a composting facility.

Air quality managers concerned with ozone attainment will tend to pay
a lot of attention to "VOCs" as a category. But it is a broad
category and we need to consider what they actually are and their

Do the comparative numbers include assumptions regarding gas recovery
from landfills?

The biochemistry going on in composting does produce some NOx. See,
for example:

I think it is only realistic to recognize that there are significant
air emissions associated with composting. In most cases these, put
in perspective, will be the lesser evil. But there likely will be
places where open-air composting is not ideal.

I look forward to learning more about this.


Alan Muller, Executive Director
Green Delaware
Box 69
Port Penn, DE 19731 USA
fax (302)836-3005

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