Ecopans answers some doubts about the composting machine


The ECOPANS composting machine is an electromechanical machine, in which the aerobic process is maintained and accelerated by the continuous supply of air and the continuous movement of the organic material. The machine has at least 2 separate composting chambers (depending on model) to optimise the composting process. Organic waste is introduced into the first chamber through:
•    a manual inlet, where the user directly delivers their organic waste, to which a bin tipper system can be applied. This is the case in canteens, restaurants or small communities; 

•    a quick and automatic loading system by means of a hopper capable of receiving the waste collected by the door-to-door service from the most common waste collection vehicles.

In the chambers, the waste is moved automatically, at preset intervals, by means of an auger, and constantly oxygenated by an aeration fan. The passage of material from one chamber to the next is fully automatic, as is the output of the compost.

Of course, the machine works in continuous flow, and allows the introduction of organic waste at any time.

•    Biodegradable kitchen and canteen leftovers (vegetable and fruit leftovers, bread, coffee grounds and tea bags, egg shells, paper napkins soiled with food and not chemically treated)

•    Small vegetable garden and/or garden waste (dried or wilted flowers, dried leaves, small stems etc.)

•    Sawdust, small scraps of bark and wood if not chemically treated

•    Filter material (natural bark) from regular biofilter maintenance.

Bones and shells of molluscs; although they are organic materials, they cannot be included (they take a long time to degrade).

Non-compostable waste MUST NOT BE PUT INTO THE COMPOSTING MACHINE, e.g. stones, batteries, plastic, cans, glass and various containers, even if they contain food residues, such as tubes containing mayonnaise, ketchup or tomato puree, jars containing remnants of gravy or other foodstuffs, used coffee capsules, or other material other than that specified by the manufacturer.

Yes, organic material can be introduced in Mater-B bags, in biodegradable plastic, or in compostable paper bags, or even in bulk.

No problem, the non-compostable material will be ejected together with the outgoing compost. To remove any residues of non-compostable materials wrongly introduced, it is useful to use a sifter (Ecopans offers a sifter integrated into the compost outlet). The better the quality of the inserted organic waste, the higher the degree of purity of the final compost.

An amount of structuring agent (usually pellets) equal to 10-15% of the organic input must be added to each organic input. Its function is to remove moisture from the organic material and activate the composting process.

Yes, it is possible, although it cannot totally replace the structuring agent. Small clippings and branches can be introduced, appropriately chopped with a chipper to a maximum size of 1-1.5 cm and well dried. However, it will still be necessary to add a proportion of pellets, about 8-10%, since chipped material does not have the same drying power as pellets.

It depends on the models: smaller machines need 230V, 3/3.5 KW, larger models 400V, 8-15 KW.


The machinery is continuous cycle; therefore, it is built to never stop. If there is an anomaly, it is signalled by a red light, which is clearly visible to the operator, and in that case no waste should be entered; it will be necessary to carry out a machine reset and restart procedure (simple, 2 minutes) before normal use can resume.

No. The machine does not need to remain idle.

The cycle should be completed by leaving the machine switched on until the 60th day; at the end of the cycle the machine will be unloaded and then switched off for the desired time. On reactivation, a new composting cycle will be resumed.

The machine is rather quiet, and in addition the internal rotations for material handling are not continuous, but are activated in pre-set cycles, generally scheduled as 10-minute activities every 4-5 hours.

The material inside the machine is moved and aerated to accelerate the composting process and to prevent the formation of unpleasant odours. If, therefore, the machine is running and a sufficient amount of structuring agent is added, the composting process takes place correctly and without unpleasant odours. In addition, the machine is equipped with a natural bark biofilter that helps prevent unpleasant odours.

In the case of high temperatures, this will favour the composting process and the machines will use the sun's rays to heat up without the use of a heater. If the machine is to be placed in areas with cold temperatures, the internal heater, installed on all machines, will remain on for longer to ensure the right temperatures for a proper composting process.

Italian legislation provides for a cycle of 90 days in total for the production of compost. Ecopans decided to divide the cycle into 60 days in the composting machine and 30 days on the external heap. Other companies divide the cycle into 30 days in the machine and 60 in the compost heap. It is evident that compost that remains 60 days in the compost heap will have a higher degree of stability and will not generate odours or leakage.

Simple and constant maintenance guarantees a long, lasting life for the machine; therefore, every three months it is recommended to carry out routine maintenance on the parts most susceptible to wear (e.g. external cleaning, lubrication of bearings, general visual checks).

Yes, the indicated quantities refer to the maximum capacity; it is advisable to stick to these quantities to avoid overloading. However, if you load a little more material than indicated on one day, it will be sufficient not to load it the next day to restore the balance. In the case of smaller quantities, however, there is no problem. 

100 kg of organic waste yields approximately 50 kg of compost (or even less, depending on various factors, including the quality of composting, outside temperatures and the type of organic waste delivered). Be wary of technologies that promise substantial reductions in input material in an excessively short time. Such technologies involve the use of additional heaters that dry and deplete the material, depriving it of its vitality, and causing damage to microbial communities that instead need temperatures suited to their metabolism. In Ecopans composting machines, thanks to the internal turning system with mechanical arms, the temperature of 55° is reached naturally. The paddles attached to the mechanical arms take the material that settles at the bottom of the tank and bring it back to the surface, thus allowing the micro-organisms to be continuously oxygenated, and allowing the temperature suitable for sterilisation to develop naturally. The result of this process will be a material rich in earth-friendly micro-organisms.

Because natural bark is a compostable product that, once exhausted, can be put directly into the compost heap (it does not generate waste); bark is natural and considered 100% renewable, unlike charcoal, which is 100% fossil-based; the energy consumption of the bark filter is usually lower than the consumption of the charcoal filter; replacing the bark is an operation that any operator can perform and does not present any particular risk to operator safety, while replacing the charcoal can develop dust and must usually be carried out by specialised operators.