Assessing the addition of mineral processing waste to green waste-derived compost: An agronomic, environmental and economic appraisal

D. L. Jones, S. Chesworth, M. Khalid, Z. Iqbal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The overall aim of this study was to evaluate the benefit of mixing two large volume wastes, namely mineral processing waste and source-segregated green waste compost, on the growth performance of plants targeted towards high (horticulture/agriculture) and low (amenity/restoration) value markets. The secondary aims were to evaluate the influence of mineral waste type on plant growth performance and to undertake a simple economic analysis of the use of mineral-compost mixtures in land restoration. Our results showed that in comparison to organic wastes, mineral wastes contained a low available nutrient content which reduces compost quality. This is supported by growth trials with tomato, wheat and grass which showed that, irrespective of mineral source, plants performed poorly in compost blended with mineral waste in comparison to those grown in green waste or peat-based compost alone. In terms of consumer confidence, unlike other wastes (e.g. biosolids and construction/demolition waste) the mineral quarry wastes can be expected to be free of potentially toxic elements, however, the production costs of compost-mineral waste mixtures and subsequent transport costs may limit its widespread use. In addition, handling of the material can be difficult under wet conditions and effective blending may require the purchase of specialist equipment. From our results, we conclude that mineral fines may prove useful for low quality, low value landscaping activities close to the source of production but are unsuited to high value markets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)770-777
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
Volume100
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

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