The safe use of compost derived from municipal solid waste depends on its composition and conditions of application uri icon


  • Municipal solid waste compost (MSWC) is a source of organic C and other nutrients, which, when free from potential contaminants, can be used as a soil amendment. This study was carried out over three years in a vineyard with soil pH close to neutral under an experimental design consisting of two treatments (with and without MSWC). Application of MSWC is currently authorized under national legislation to be used in vineyards, orchards and forests at a maximum rate of 10 t ha−1 year−1. In this study, for experimental purposes, a double rate (20 t ha−1 year−1) was used. The accumulated grape yield increased in the amended plot by 28% and the dry biomass of weeds between rows by 119%. The MSWC significantly increased some relevant soil properties such as organic C, pH, cation exchange capacity (CEC) and extractable P, K and B. The concentration of K increased significantly in several tissues, and the concentration of P decreased. However, the concentration of K, P and other essential nutrients in the leaves remained within their sufficiency ranges. Tissue levels of heavy metals (Cr, Cd, Pb and Ni) did not increase with the MSWC application, and the values in the pulp remained below the limits established for foodstuffs. The results from this study indicate that the continuous application of the MSWC does not seem to be sustainable, because of the risk of causing nutritional disorders. Products with similar composition should therefore be used only on more acidic soils and should never exceed the legally established rates.

publication date

  • January 2021