Biological treatment of organic waste in cold regions – a case study from Sisimiut, Greenland

Gunvor Marie Kirkelund, Monika Skadborg, Monica Nielsen, Leire Díez Larrea, Charlotte Scheutz, Rasmus Eisted

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


In 2014, Qeqqata Kommunia, Greenland, initiated a pilot project in Sisimiut to reduce the amounts of landfilled waste by source separation of organic waste and subsequent composting. One year after the first batch of compost was produced, this fieldwork study was carried out with the aim of characterising the composition of the organic waste that is composted and assessing the compost quality to evaluate its potential utility as plant growth medium or biocover to reduce methane emissions from the landfill. Both organic waste and compost was analysed for LoI, water content, pH, EC, TC, TKN, C/N, Ptot, K, Ca and heavy metals. The compost was additionally analysed for Stot, CH4 oxidation rates and respiration rates. The organic waste consisted mainly of food residues with low contents of impurities and was overall appropriate for composting, except for a low pH value, which can be balanced with aeration or addition of CaO. The compost was limited for use as plant growth medium by several parameters which indicated immaturity, high content of wood and impurities. High respiration rates and low CH4 oxidation rates further indicated immaturity of the compost. The study found potential for collecting organic waste and composting in the Arctic. However, the compost quality and maturity should be improved by more efficient composting. Improvement could be achieved by reducing the wood content mixed into the organic waste and by applying a higher mixing frequency during the composting process.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event12th Symposium on Cold Regions Development - Oulu, Finland
Duration: 17 Jun 201919 Jun 2019
Conference number: 12


Conference12th Symposium on Cold Regions Development


  • Compost
  • Waste management
  • Arctic
  • Greenland
  • Biological treatment
  • Organic waste
  • Source separation

Cite this

Kirkelund, G. M., Skadborg, M., Nielsen, M., Larrea, L. D., Scheutz, C., & Eisted, R. (2019). Biological treatment of organic waste in cold regions – a case study from Sisimiut, Greenland. Paper presented at 12th Symposium on Cold Regions Development , Oulu, Finland.