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A review of the use of composted municipal solid waste in agriculture
 

Summary: Review
A review of the use of composted municipal
solid waste in agriculture
J.C. Hargreaves a,*, M.S. Adl a
, P.R. Warman b
a
Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford St., Halifax, NS B3H 4J1, Canada
b
Coastal BioAgresearch Ltd., Boutiliers Point, NS B3Z 1V1, Canada
Received 28 March 2007; received in revised form 5 July 2007; accepted 19 July 2007
Available online 4 September 2007
Abstract
Municipal solid waste (MSW) compost is increasingly used in agriculture as a soil conditioner but also as a fertilizer. Proponents of this
practice consider it an important recycling tool since MSW would otherwise be landfilled and critics are concerned with its often elevated
metal concentrations. Large amounts of MSW compost are frequently used in agriculture to meet crop N requirements and for the addition of
organic matter. The main concern is loading the soil with metals that can result in increased metal content of crops. Furthermore, in some
cases, metals and excess nutrients can move through the soil profile into groundwater. Municipal solid waste compost has also been reported to
have high salt concentrations, which can inhibit plant growth and negatively affect soil structure. A review of relevant agricultural studies is
presented as well as recommendations for improving MSW compost quality. Its safe use in agriculture can be ensured with source separation
(or triage of MSW to be composted) as well as the development and implementation of comprehensive industry standards.

  

Source: Adl, Sina - Department of Biology, Dalhousie University

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology