We at SOIL are always working to develop innovative approaches to support our growth strategy and further expand our reach to provide accessible, sustainable and reliable sanitation to those that need it the most. Research plays a critical role in SOIL’s efforts to achieve strategic goals and advance knowledge in the sanitation sector. This year has started off very busy for SOIL’s Research team, as we are working on a number of ongoing research projects including; small-scale black soldier fly larvae experiments, improving collections with human-centered design and utilizing aeration to make the waste-to-compost process more efficient. We’re pleased to introduce our latest research project: windrow composting!
One of our goals this year is to make the composting process faster, so that we can treat and transform more waste in order to accommodate more customers and growth. However, finding land for waste treatment is difficult, so as much as possible we want to grow within our existing site. This means we need to be able to treat more waste in the same space we currently use, so we have to get creative! In order to do so, the SOIL team is testing different composting methods that could potentially transform waste into compost faster, thereby increasing the rate of turnover. Windrow composting involves emptying containers into a pile on the ground (and elongating it into a row), as an alternative to the bins we currently use for composting. Then, the pile must be turned at least once a week to increase aeration and decomposition. Improving the efficiency of the composting process will help us to accommodate more waste and help us decrease operational costs, moving us closer to a financially sustainable business model!
In collaboration (and solidarity) with the Operations and Research teams, SOIL’s Human Resources Director, Wisner and Director of Operations, Djimitri, partook in the experiment and helped empty 500 containers! The waste treatment team at our composting site in Mouchinette really appreciate when managers and other SOIL employees come to the site, because they are proud of their work and how much physical strength it requires. Knowing that the managers value their work is always a great moral booster and makes for a happy and efficient operational team!
The team will continue to monitor the pile daily and turn it following a specific schedule, designed to maximize aeration at the beginning of the process, when the microbes require the most oxygen to work. We’re hoping to bring the managers and office teams to the compost site more often to take part in operations as part of an exercise to increase understanding of SOIL’s work across teams and build up enhanced collaboration throughout the organization. Stay tuned for more updates on our compost research!