Composting of waste from palm oil mill: a sustainable waste management practice

  • R. P. Singh
  • M. Hakimi Ibrahim
  • Norizan Esa
  • M. S. Iliyana


Malaysia is blessed with abundant natural resources and bears a favorable climate for commercial cultivation of crops such as oil palm. In Malaysia the total plantation area of oil palm was 4,487,957 ha in 2008. It has been reported that in 2005 there was a total of 423 palm oil mills having production capacity of approximately 89 million tonnes of fresh fruit bunch (FFB) per year. Waste from the oil palm mill process include palm oil mill effluent (POME), generated mainly from oil extraction, washing and cleaning up processes. POME contains cellulosic material, fat, oil, and grease. Discharging untreated effluent into water streams may cause considerable environmental problems. The solid wastes generated are mainly decanter cake, empty fruit bunches, seed shells and fibre from the mesocarp. POME as well as the solid wastes may rapidly deteriorate the surrounding environment if not dealt with properly. Hence there is an urgent need for a sustainable waste management system to tackle these wastes. As these wastes are organic in origin, they are rich in plant nutrients. Composting of waste generated from palm oil mills can be good practice as it will be helpful in recycling useful plant nutrients. This review deals with various aspects of waste management practices in palm oil mills and the possibility of composting the wastes.


POME Decanter cake Empty fruit bunch Fresh fruit bunch Composting 



The study was funded through Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) short-term grant number 304/ PTEKIND/ 6310003. The authors acknowledge USM for providing research facilities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. P. Singh
    • 1
  • M. Hakimi Ibrahim
    • 1
  • Norizan Esa
    • 2
  • M. S. Iliyana
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Technology Division, School of Industrial TechnologyUniversiti Sains MalaysiaPulau PinangMalaysia
  2. 2.School of Educational StudiesUniversiti Sains MalaysiaPulau PinangMalaysia

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