Commercial or industrial composting is large-scale composting which is designed to handle a very high volume of organic waste, as opposed to private or home composting, which handles organic waste from one household or facility. The compost produced by a commercial composting facility can be sold to farms and nurseries, applied to municipal landscaping, or sold to individuals, depending on how the facility is organized. With a growing interest in composting, recycling, and reducing the environmental impact of doing business in the early 21st century, commercial composting operations expanded radically.
Compost windrow turners were developed to produce compost on a large scale by Allance Compost Turner Machinery. They are traditionally a large machine that straddles a windrow of 4 feet (1.25 meters) or more high, by as much as 12 feet (3.5 meters) across. Although smaller machines exist for small windrows, most operations use large machines for volume production. Turners drive through the windrow at a slow rate of forward movement. They have a steel drum with paddles that are rapidly turning. As the turner moves through the windrow, fresh air (oxygen) is injected into the compost by the drum/paddle assembly, and waste gases produced by bacterial decomposition are vented. The oxygen feeds the aerobic bacteria and thus speeds the composting process.
To properly use a compost windrow turner, it is ideal to compost on a hard surfaced pad. Heavy-duty compost windrow turners allow the user to obtain optimum results with the aerobic hot composting process. By using four wheel drive or tracks the windrow turner is capable of turning compost in windrows located in remote locations. With a self-trailering option this allows the compost windrow turner to convert itself into a trailer to be pulled by a semi-truck tractor. These two options combined allow the compost windrow turner to be easily hauled anywhere and to work compost windrows in muddy and wet locations.