Waste and Biomass Valorization

, Volume 10, Issue 7, pp 1811–1819 | Cite as

Selecting Monitoring Variables in the Manual Composting of Municipal Solid Waste Based on Principal Component Analysis

  • Juan F. SaldarriagaEmail author
  • Jorge L. Gallego
  • Julian E. López
  • Roberto Aguado
  • Martin Olazar
Original Paper


This paper proposes the use of principal component analysis performed on the correlation matrix for identifying the best variables for monitoring the composting of municipal solid wastes. Accordingly, 12 physicochemical and two microbiological parameters have been measured throughout the 7 weeks in which the compositing of 1300 kg of organic wastes obtained from MSW was carried out. All the analyses confirm a correct development of the composting process, and the final values fulfil the requirements of the Colombian legislation. The statistical analysis shows that four variables are sufficient for ensuring a suitable process development and, based on economic criteria and technical simplicity, the selected ones are as follows: respirometry, water retention capacity, ash content and moisture content.


Composting Municipal solid waste (MSW) Physicochemical parameters Principal component analysis (PCA) Correlation matrix 



Cationic exchange capacity


Colony forming units


Fluorescein diacetate assay


International Classification for Standards


International Organization for Standardization


Meters above sea level


Municipal solid waste


Colombian standard reference


Principal component analysis


Phospholipid fatty acid analysis


Total organic carbon


Water retention capacity



This work was carried out with the financial support of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the Universidad de los Andes.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan F. Saldarriaga
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jorge L. Gallego
    • 2
  • Julian E. López
    • 2
  • Roberto Aguado
    • 3
  • Martin Olazar
    • 3
  1. 1.Deparment of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversidad de los AndesBogotáColombia
  2. 2.Program of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of MedellínMedellínColombia
  3. 3.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of the Basque CountryBilbaoSpain

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