Composting: Computing the Right Recipe

by Bruce H. Andrews, Assoc. Prof.; Management Science, Univ. of Southern Maine, ME,
James Ecker, (M.ASCE), Proj. Development Engr.; Resource Conservation Services, Yarmouth, ME,
Rhonda M. White, Controller/Administrative Manager; Intelligent Controls, Saco, ME,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 6, Pg. 55-57

Document Type: Feature article


A pinch of this and a pinch of that is an adequate instruction for most good cooks. But for composting, facility managers need a recipe that specifies the right ingredients and exact amount, for higher profit per compost pile. That's why managers at Resource Conservation Services, Yarmouth, Me., decided to exchange their trial-and-error spreadsheet approach to resource allocation for a modern computerized method of what if. A linear-programming algorithm, part of an inexpensive ($30 for software and a couple of day's worth of consulting time) decision support system (DSS), helped them to determine the most efficient blend of compost ingredients for their Hawk Ridge Compost Facility in Unity, Me. Since working with a DSS, annual revenues at Hawk Ridge have increased by nearly 30%. A microcomputer-based DSS is easy to learn to use. Its application range is broad, supporting many different decision-making needs.

Subject Headings: Composting | Managers | Profits | Piles | Spreadsheets | Resource management | Linear functions | Algorithms

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