Physical contaminants (glass, metal, plastic and ‘other’) and stones were isolated and categorised from three finished commercial composts derived from source segregated biodegradable municipal waste (BMW). A subset of the identified physical contaminant fragments were subsequently reintroduced into the cleaned compost samples and sent to three commercial laboratories for testing in an inter-laboratory trial using the current PAS100:2011 method (AfOR MT PC&S). The trial showed that the ‘other’ category caused difficulty for all three laboratories with under reporting, particularly of the most common ‘other’ contaminants (paper and cardboard) and, over-reporting of non-man-made fragments. One laboratory underreported metal contaminant fragments (spiked as silver foil) in three samples. Glass, plastic and stones were variably underreported due to miss-classification or over reported due to contamination with compost (organic) fragments. The results are discussed in the context of global physical contaminant test methods and compost quality assurance schemes.
Echavarri Bravo, V., Thygesen, H., & Aspray, T. J. (2017). Variability in physical contamination assessment of source segregated biodegradable municipal waste derived composts. Waste Management, 59, 30–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2016.10.049