UBC Undergraduate Research

Large-scale composting options for YVR : cost analysis Pisarek, Natalia


Metro Vancouver has established a mandate to divert 70% of its waste stream from the landfill by 2015 (Richmond Soil & Fibre, 2012). Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has several options fordiverting a significant portion of itswaste stream to a composting process. The airport’s waste stream currently consists of approximately 1,600 tonnes of organic material annually at the two main terminals and its satellite locations (MJ Waste Solutions 2011). YVR also generates about 150,000 kilograms ofwood scraps annually which may be used as bulking material (Vancouver Airport Authority 2011b). This report will assume a maximum composting scenario of about 1,600 tonnes per year. Therefore therecommended technologies will reflect this capacity. The research question explored in this reportcan be divided into two main questions. First, what are appropriate composting technologies for the airport, and second what are the associated costs? Six on-site technologies were evaluated, as well as an off-site diversion option. The following composting systems were assessed: Turned windrows, Covered aerated static piles (C ASP), Ag-Bag, In-vessel rotating drum, Anaerobic Digestion, Vermicomposting *The science of vermicomposting will not be explored in this report; it is only necessary to know that vermicomposting refers to composting using live worm species. The research found that the most suitable options are Ag-Bag and in-vessel technologies. The latter is much more expensive but provides the greatest degree of control over the process, including odour and vector management.Turned windrows are one of the cheapest options but present potential odour and vector problem. Covered aerated static piles and vermicomposting are the poorest options because of the very high capital investment required. These complex options are difficult to justify at the scale proposed for YVR (about 1, 6000 tonnes annually).Anaerobic digestion is feasible for the airport but this is also an expensive and complex system. Off-site diversion is inexpensive and simple in the short-term, but is not a competitive option in light of ongoing operational costs. It is important to note that all the options require outdoor storage or curing. A comparative table of advantages and disadvantages is provided at the end of this report.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International