May 2008

Composting: The Practical Science program offered in June near Pittsburgh

The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania (PROP) in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA-DEP) and Penn State Altoona are offering their class on the basics of large-scale composting. The class covers how compost works, from the microbes to the mega-machines. Sessions on site design, equipment selection, environmental protection, and product quality are all included. Several hands-on exercises are part of the course, giving students practice in measuring various aspects of a working compost pile and in the various calculations that go into compost management.

The class is offered in a different part of the Commonwealth each year. This year it returns to the Pittsburgh area, where the compost facility of AgRecycle will be featured. AgRecycle is one of the premier compost facilities in the state, having won the Governors’ Award for Waste Minimization in 1995. The site provides the opportunity for a demonstration of the various types of equipment as well as an area for the students to learn some important techniques.

Two well known composting experts return to teach the class: Bob Rynk, editor of the On-Farm Composting Handbook, and Cary Oshins, long-time compost educator for Rodale Institute and PROP.

Tuition for the course is $139 for PROP members and $279 for non-members and takes place on the New Kensington Campus of Penn State. For detailed information, please contact Amy Carlotto Zuckett, Education Director, at or call 814-742-7777. The course brochure is available online at

Upon completion of this course, participants will receive a Penn State certificate verifying 1.4 hours of continuing education credits earned towards the Recycling Professional Certification. Also, this course is a required elective for the Composting Specialization and the Composting Operator Course Certificate.

Advance registration and payment is required by June 4, 2008.