• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 9, No 8 (2018)

Assessment of Composting Technologies for Organic Waste Management

Assessment of Composting Technologies for Organic Waste Management

Title: Assessment of Composting Technologies for Organic Waste Management
Junidah Abdul Shukor, Mohd Faizal Omar, Maznah Mat Kasim, Mohd Hafiz Jamaludin, Mohd Azrul Naim

Corresponding email:

Published at : 30 Dec 2018
Volume : IJtech Vol 9, No 8 (2018)
DOI : https://doi.org/10.14716/ijtech.v9i8.2754

Cite this article as:
Shukor, J.A., Omar, M.F., Kasim, M.M., Jamaludin, M.H., Naim, M.A., 2018. Assessment of Composting Technologies for Organic Waste Management. International Journal of Technology. Volume 9(8), pp. 1579-1587

Junidah Abdul Shukor School of Quantitative Sciences, Universiti Utara Malaysia, 06010 Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia
Mohd Faizal Omar School of Quantitative Sciences, Universiti Utara Malaysia, 06010 Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia
Maznah Mat Kasim School of Quantitative Sciences, Universiti Utara Malaysia, 06010 Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia
Mohd Hafiz Jamaludin Faculty of Agro Based Industry, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, 17600 Jeli, Kelantan, Malaysia
Mohd Azrul Naim Kulliyyah of Science, International Islamic University Malaysia, 25200 Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia
Email to Corresponding Author

Assessment of Composting Technologies for Organic Waste Management

Organic waste disposal in landfills has created various environmental issues, such as greenhouse gas emissions and leachate. Awareness of this issue has resulted in diverting landfill to compost. Thus, there is a need to develop an analytical tool to select the best composting technology. Therefore, this paper reviews a range of assessment steps designed to evaluate specific sustainability criteria (environmental, social, economic, and technical) for organic waste management to select the most suitable composting technology. Due to the complexity of conflicting criteria and alternatives in composting technology, a multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) technique is suggested to ensure the quality of the decision-making process. As an additional benefit, the synthesis results via the MCDM tool will be more credible when seeking validation by stakeholders.

Composting; Composting criteria; Decision making; Organic waste


Organic waste or green waste can be defined as organic material that is easily biodegradable (Kadir et al., 2016). Organic material is derived from natural sources. Essentially, any residual kitchen waste (vegetable peelings, food, tea bags, and egg shells), agro-waste (food and beverage processing waste, dairy products, animal waste, and crops), grass clippings, dried leaves, and timber can degrade naturally (Hartono et al., 2015; Ng & Yusoff, 2015; Kadir et al., 2016). The process of degradation is performed by microbial (fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes, and protozoa) and invertebrate (insects and earthworm) organisms, which digest and break down the organic matter (Basri et al., 2005; Fauziah & Agamuthu, 2009; Kadir et al., 2016).

Due to the ability of organic waste to degrade naturally, dumping it into landfills is the most common waste disposal method. Unfortunately, various studies have indicated the undesirable environmental impacts of using landfills to manage the disposal of organic waste (Manfredi et al., 2009; Fauziah & Agamuthu, 2010). Leachate contamination in surface and groundwater, infestation by pests, and the emission of greenhouse gases are some effects of organic waste disposed into landfills (Manfredi et al., 2009; Fauziah & Agamuthu, 2010). These effects contribute to global warming and environmental pollution.

The awareness of environmental issues has encouraged society to find other alternatives to manage the organic waste disposal process instead of landfills. The composting process can be used for biological decomposition, and this technology has the potential to manage organic waste, transform it into valuable agricultural products, and minimize pollution (Basri et al., 2005; Hartono et al., 2015; Kadir et al., 2016). However, several important aspects need to be considered before implement composting technology. These include sources of waste feedstock in terms of quantity (small scale like home composting, medium scale, or large scale composting) and quality (moisture content and nutrient content) (Basri et al., 2005; Fauziah & Agamuthu, 2009; Zabaleta et al., 2014; Hartono et al., 2015; Ng & Yusoff, 2015), technology set-up in terms of site location and area required (Basri et al., 2005; Zabaleta et al., 2014), required operational skill, and capital and operating costs (Basri et al., 2005; Malakahmad et al., 2017). Besides these, the quality of the compost end-product also needs to be taken into consideration (Zabaleta et al., 2014). Most of these aspects or criteria vary with composting technology. Composting can be performed using different methods or systems, such as the static pile system (Ilham & Esa, 2017; Lim et al., 2017), windrow system (Zaini et al., 2015; Ilham & Esa, 2017), in-vessel system (Zaini et al., 2015; Ilham & Esa, 2017; Malakahmad et al., 2017), and vermicomposting system (Fauziah & Agamuthu, 2009). 

Therefore, selecting the best composting technology is not a straightforward process. Specific decisions must be made based on these various criteria. The decision maker needs to understand the assessment steps required to make the best decision and to identify the specific weaknesses and strengths of that decision. This procedure can decrease the probability of mistakes and risk during the process planning and execution phases. Additionally, assessment activities will help the decision maker to evaluate each technology proposed so that the optimal alternative can be identified (Zurbrügg et al., 2014; Abdullah, 2015).


MCDM can be applied in any discipline to make effective and accurate decisions based on various evaluation criteria. This study focused on how the MCDM approach can be used to choose the best composting technology for organic waste. However, the assessment step (basic step as mention in section 2.3, the four steps commonly used: (1) Determine of work objective; (2) Define theoretical framework; (3) Determine relevant of criteria, sub-criteria, and alternative or possible solution; and (4) Data collection and data processing) is fundamental not specifically for technology selection, but rather expansion knowledge of decision maker system. Using the MCDM system can result in improved outcomes and more comprehensive support for the decision makers. As an additional benefit, the synthesis results made using MCDM will be more convincing and valid to the stakeholders.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the support and assistance from UUM Collaboration 1+3 Research Grant (S/O Code: 14036) for this research and the cooperation of research teams from IIUM, UMK, and D&Y Coldchain Venture. M.H.J was supported by Niche Research Grant Scheme from Ministry of Higher Education of Malaysia (grant number: R/NRGS/A07.00/00413A/004/2014/000150) and M.A.N was supported by Research Matching Scheme of IIUM (grant number: RMGS17-004-0030).



Abdullah, L., 2015. Developing Decision on Suitable Wastewater Treatment Technology using Fuzzy Simple Additive Weighting. International Journal of Engineering and Technology, Volume 7, pp. 405-413

Allesch, A., Brunner, P. H., 2014. Assessment Methods for Solid Waste Management: A Literature Review. Waste Management & Research, Volume 32(6), pp. 461-473

Amin, M.M., Hashemi, H., Bina, B., Ebrahimi, A., Pourzamani, H.R., Ebrahimi, A., 2014. Environmental Pollutants Removal from Composting Leachate using Anaerobic Biological Treatment Process. International Journal of Health System and Dissater Management, Volume 2, pp. 136-141

Anwar, Z., Irshad, M., Fareed, I., Saleem, A., 2015. Characterization and Recycling of Organic Waste After Co-composting - A Review. Journal of Agricultural Science, Volume 7, pp. 68-79

Bababola, M.A., 2015. A Multi-criteria Decision Analysis of Waste Treatment Options for Food and Biodegradable Waste Management in Japan. Environments, Volume 2, pp. 471-488

Basri, N.E.A., Basri, H., Stentifor, E.I. 2005., An Expert System to Design Composting Facilities for Municipal Solid Waste. Jurnal Kejuruteraan, Volume 17, pp. 85-99

Coelho, L.M.G., Lange, L.C., Coelho, H.M., 2017. Multi-criteria Decision Making to Support Waste Management: A Critical Review of Current Practices and Methods. Waste Management & Research, Volume 35(1), pp. 3-28

Consultant, S., 2012. Life Cycle Assessment of  Organic Waste Management Options. 4CA-00999-00034. Regional District of Central Okanagan. Available Online at http://slrconsulting.com , Accessed on August 08, 2018

Fauziah, S.H., Agamuthu, P., 2009. Sustainable Household Organic Waste Management via Vermicomposting. Malaysian Journal of Science, Volume 28, pp. 135-142

Fauziah, S.H., Agamuthu, P., 2010. Landfills in Malaysia: Past, Present and Future. In : 1st International Conference on Final Sinks. Vienna., pp. 1-9

Georgiadis, D.R., Mazzuchi, T.A., Sarkani, S., 2013. Using Multi Criteria Decision Making in Analysis of Alternatives for Selection of Enabling Technology. System Engineering, Volume 16(3), pp. 287-303

Ghinea, C., Gavrilescu, M., 2010. Decision Support Models for Solid Waste Management - An Overvierw. Environment Engineering and Management Journal, Volume 9(6), pp. 869-880

Harrison, E.Z., 2007. Health Impact of Composting Air Emissions. BioCycle, Volume 48(11), pp. 44-50

Hartono, D.M., Kristanto, G.A., Amin, S., 2015. Potential Reduction of Solid Waste Generated from Traditional and Modern Markets. International Journal of Technology, Volume 6(5), pp. 838-846

Ilham, J.I.J., Esa, N., 2017. Composting as a Sustainable Method to Minimise Waste at Source in Malaysia. In: International Conference on Environmental Research and Technology (ICERT), pp. 225-228

Kadir, A.A., Azhari, N.W., Jamaludin, S.N., 2016. An Overview of Organic Waste in Composting. In: MATEC Web of Conferences, 47

Kalbasi, A., Muktar, S., Hawkins, E.E., Auvermani, B.W., 2006. Design, Utilization, Biosecurity, Environmental and Economic Considerations of Carcass Composting. Compost Science and Utilization, Volume 14(2), pp 90-102

Khan, A., Ishaq, F., 2011. Chemical Nutrient Analysis of Different Compost (Vermicompost and Pitcompost) and Their Effect on the Growth of a Vegetative Crop Pisu sativum. Asian Journal of Plant Science and Research, Volume 1(1), pp 116-130

Lim, L.Y., Bong, C.P.C., Lee, C.T., Klemeš, J.J., Sarmidi, M.R., Lim, J.S., 2017. Review on the Current Composting Practices and the Potential of Improvement using Two-stage Composting. Chemical Engineering Transactions, Volume 61, pp. 1051-1056

Louis, G.E., Magpili, L.M., Pinto, C.A., 2007. Multi-criteria Decision Making and Composting of Waste in the Municipality of Bacoor in the Philippines. International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management, Volume 7(3-4), pp 351-368

Ma, J., Wilson, K., Zhao, Q., Yorgey, G., Frear, C., 2013. Odor in Commercial Scale Compost: Literature Review and Critical Analysis. Department of Ecology State of Washington, Washington State University, 2013. Available Online at http://cdn.shopify.com, Accessed on May 13, 2018

Malakahmad, A., Idrus, N.B., Abualqumboz, M.S., Yavari, S., Kutty, S.R.M., 2017. In-vessel Co-composting of Yard Waste and Food Waste: An Approach for Sustainable Waste Management in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. International Journal of Recycle Organic Waste Agriculture, Volume 6(2), pp 149-157

Manfredi, S., Tonini, D., Christensen, T.H., Scharff, H., 2009. Lndfilling of Waste: Accounting of Greenhouse Gases and Global Warming Contributions. Waste Management & Research Volume 27(8), pp 825-836

Martowibowo, S.Y., Riyanto, H., 2011. Suitable Multi Criteria Decision Analysis Tool for Selecting Municipal Solid Waste Treatment in the City of Bandung. Journal of KONES Powertrain and Transport, Volume 18, pp. 273-280

Nasrin, R.K., Susanna, D., 2013. Application of Multi Criteria Decision Analysis in Design of Sustainable Environmental Management System Framework. Journal of Cleaer Production, Volume 47, pp 188-198

Ng, C.G., Yusoff, S., 2015. Life Cycle Inventory of Institutional Medium-scaled Co-composting of Food Waste and Yard Waste in Tropical Country. Sains Malaysiana, Volume 44(4), pp 517-527

Nouri, J., Omrani, G.A., Arjmandi, R., Kermani, M., 2014. Comparison of Solid Waste Management Scenarios based on Lift Cycle Analysis and Multi-criteria Decision Making (Case Study: Isfahan City). Iranian Journal of Science & Technology, Volume 38(3), pp. 257-264

Rama, L., Vasanthy, D.M., 2014. Market Waste Management using Compost Technology. International Journal of Plant, Animal and Environmental Sciences, Volume 4(4), pp. 57-61

Samah, M.A.A., Manaf, L.A., Zukki, N.I.M., 2010. Application of AHP Model foe Evaluation of Solid Waste Treatment Technology. International Journal of Engineering and Techscience, 1(1), pp 35-40

Sunar, N.M., Stentiford, E.I., Stewart, D.I., Fletcher, L.A., 2009. The Process and Pathogen Behaviour in Composting: A Review. In: Proceeding UMT-MSD 2009, Post Graduate Seminar 2009, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, pp. 78-87

Triantaphyllou, E., Shu, B., Sanchez, S.N., Ray, T., 1998. Multi-criteria Decision Making: An Operation Research Approach. Encyclopedia of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Volume 15(1998), pp. 175-186

Zabaleta,, I., Scholten, L., Zurbrügg, C., 2014. A Decision Support Tool for Selecting Organic Waste Treatment Technologies. Sandec News, Volume 15, p. 5

Zaini, N.S.M., Basri, N.E.A., Zain, S.M., Saad, N.F.M., 2015. Selecting the Best Composting Technology using Analytical Hierarcy Process (AHP). Jurnal Technologi, Volume 77 (1), pp. 1-8

Zurbrügg, C., Caniato, M., Vaccari, M., 2014. How Assessment Methods Can Support Solid Waste Management in Developing Countries -  A Critical Review. Sustainability, Volume 6(2), pp. 545-570