Greenhouse Gas from Organic Waste Composting: Emissions and Measurement

  • Antoni SánchezEmail author
  • Adriana Artola
  • Xavier Font
  • Teresa Gea
  • Raquel Barrena
  • David Gabriel
  • Miguel Ángel Sánchez-Monedero
  • Asunción Roig
  • María Luz Cayuela
  • Claudio Mondini
Part of the Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World book series (ECSW, volume 5)


There is actually common consensus to use biological technologies for the treatment of organic wastes. For instance composting involving the aerobic biological stabilization of organic wastes is gaining popularity. The amount of materials and the variety of wastes composted is increasing fast. However composting is a process emitting gases some of which being greenhouse gases (GHG) that favour global warming. In particular carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are responsible for the global warming potential of composting. A part of these gases can be abated by low-cost biological technologies such as biofiltration. This review compiles all the points related to the emission of GHG from composting processes, from detection and measurement to minimization and abatement. We focus on measurements of GHG to obtain reliable emission factors for designing composting technologies. This will help to compare waste treatment options based on integrated tools such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). A chapter discusses C and N dynamics in the compost, and implications on emitted C and N gases. Finally we review the best available practices to minimize the GHG emissions from composting. We also present the final treatment of composting gases.


Composting Anaerobic digestion Greenhouse gas (GHG) Environmental impact Life cycle assessment (LCA) Carbon dioxide Methane Nitrous oxide Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) Biofiltration 



The authors wish to thank the financial support of the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnologia (Project CTM2009-14073-C02-01/02).


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antoni Sánchez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Adriana Artola
    • 1
  • Xavier Font
    • 1
  • Teresa Gea
    • 1
  • Raquel Barrena
    • 1
  • David Gabriel
    • 1
  • Miguel Ángel Sánchez-Monedero
    • 2
  • Asunción Roig
    • 2
  • María Luz Cayuela
    • 2
  • Claudio Mondini
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasCampus Universitario de EspinardoMurciaSpain
  3. 3.Consiglio per la Ricerca e la Sperimentazione in Agricoltura, Centro di Ricerca per lo Studio delle Relazioni tra Pianta e SuoloGruppo di Ricerca di Gorizia, CRA-RPSGoriziaItaly

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