FAQ

What are ComposTex compost covers and how do they shed rainfall and/or reduce moisture loss?

Does ComposTex shed water differently when covering “peaked” versus “flat-topped” windrow(s) ?

What are the benefits of using ComposTex covers?

How does ComposTex help reduce unpleasant odors?

Can or should ComposTex covers be used in sub-freezing conditions?

I’m trying to increase windrow(s) temperatures in the cooler months - will ComposTex help with that, and is it available in heavier grades to provide extra insulation?

Will they prevent access into windrow(s) from scavenging animals, birds, and flies?

Are there any important issues to consider when an operator is planning to use ComposTex to reduce moisture loss in dry climates and/or conditions?

Do the covers have to be used continuously or can they be used just when needed?

Are there ways to extend the usable life of ComposTex when they must be used continuously in high UV-light exposure conditions?

OK, I understand all these benefits, but how do I know if these benefits will make the use of ComposTex cost effective?

Are they difficult to handle and how are they put on and taken off of windrow(s) ?

Are there machines available so the deployment and removal of the covers can be mechanized?

And once on a windrow(s), how are they secured so they’re not blown off by the wind?

Is there a certain side of the cover that should be either up or down?

Does ComposTex come standard with grommets, and if not, can grommets be installed?

What sizes (widths and lengths) are available?

How can I determine the optimal WIDTH to order?

What if the standard ComposTex widths won’t fit my windrow(s) exactly?

Can ComposTex be cut and sewn to make alternative widths?

How can I determine the optimal LENGTH to order?

How do I know if my compost windrow(s) have the proper moisture content?

My windrow(s) are too wet - can ComposTex be used to dry them out?

I’m using an aerated static (ASP) system - how much pressure decrease can be expected due to the ComposTex fabric?

Can ComposTex be used for bio-drying?

Can ComposTex be used as a ground cover to smoother and/or prevent plant growth?

How durable are the covers and do you offer a durability guarantee or warranty?

Are there ways to minimize the potential for tearing the ComposTex fabric?

Can ComposTex be repaired if accidentally torn?

Will ComposTex protect windrow(s) in areas of extremely heavy rainfall?

What's the difference between ComposTex and micro-porous covers such as the GORE cover?

Does it cost much to ship ComposTex to North American destinations?

Is there a minimum order size to ship ComposTex overseas?

Can you provide us with some customer referrals/testimonials?

Will ComposTex reduce leachate and/or runoff and is there any related research on this topic?

Are there any scientific studies/research available quantifying the various benefits of ComposTex?

Does CV Compost provide composting technical support?

How long will it take to receive an order?

Does Texel offer a durability warranty?

Are there methods that can be used to reduce the exposure of ComposTex to UV-light?

Can ComposTex be recycled after the fabric has lost its structural integrity?




What are ComposTex compost covers and how do they shed rainfall and/or reduce moisture loss?
Compost covers were developed as an inexpensive but highly effective method of providing moisture control during the composting process. The covers are made from "non-woven" synthetic fibers that create a lightweight yet highly durable blanket which sheds up to 100% of the precipitation and snow-melt off a compost windrow(s) while remaining completely permeable to oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. If you hold a fabric sample up to a light source you can see how its open pore structure allows these gases to pass freely through it.


The cover's water-shedding ability is accomplished through the combined action of gravity (the windrow(s) must peaked at the center) and the cohesive properties of water as it moves through the fiber matrix (thickness) of the cover. As water is absorbed into the fabric, it's "wicked" down the gravitational gradient to the cover's bottom edge. Again, you can simulate this wicking action by draping a fabric sample over a curved surface and spraying it with water.


In dry climates and conditions they also can be used to reduce moisture loss by protecting the outside of the windrow(s) from the drying effects of sun and wind.


Does ComposTex shed water differently when covering “peaked” versus “flat-topped” windrow(s) ?
Since ComposTex sheds water by absorbing water and allowing this water to "wick" from fiber to fiber down the gravitational gradient, they work best when covering windrow(s) that have a sharp "peak" with long sloping sides. However, even on a windrow(s) with a moderately flat top, ComposTex can still provide substantial protection from rainfall because water will still be shed from whatever portion of the windrow(s) surface that IS sloped. So, let's assume you have a windrow(s) with a 18 ft "arc" (which represents the total surface area) and this windrow(s) has a flat top that's 4 ft wide. Since this flat top represents 22% of the total surface, the covers will still shed excess rainfall from 78% of the remaining remaining surface area that IS sloped. Additionally, since ComposTex absorbs at least 18 times its weight in water, this large volume of water will eventually evaporate as water vapor, which means that even on a flat top, ComposTex will provide a certain amount of protection from excess moisture. So except for extreme rainfall events (for example, over 1" of rain in 12 hrs), the covers could still reduce water infiltration substantially.


What are the benefits of using ComposTex covers?
Excess moisture in a compost system not only displaces oxygen that’s essential for optimum composting, but also increases the cost of screening, bagging, and transporting the finished compost. Besides avoiding these problems and their costs, additional benefits of protecting active, curing, and finished compost with ComposTex include:

  1. ComposTex encourages initial heating and/or drying of compost windrow(s) with high moisture content, assuming the covers are taken OFF during periods of hot, dry weather and put back on during rainfall events. And turning the windrows after the surface has dried out to some degree will further enhance this drying process.
  2. By protecting windrow(s) from excess rainfall, ComposTex can eliminate the unpleasant odors that would otherwise be generated by saturated conditions.
  3. ComposTex insulates compost windrow(s) to generate higher and more uniform temperatures resulting in reduced processing times and more uniform pathogen and weed seed destruction.
  4. ComposTex serves as an alternative to wood chips or finished compost as a cover for aerated static windrow(s).
  5. ComposTex can reduce unpleasant odors that are NOT related to saturated/anaerobic conditions.
  6. ComposTex protects finished compost from windblown weed seeds.
  7. ComposTex protects stabilized sludge from rainfall prior to land application.


How does ComposTex help reduce unpleasant odors?
While we do not yet have formal research results that would explain how ComposTex can reduce odors even though the fabric is permeable to gases, we do have a few customers successfully using ComposTex for odor control, and we can provide their contact information upon request. The possible explanations for the ability of ComposTex to control unpleasant odors include:

  1. Odor molecules and/or the water vapor containing these molecules are captured by and attached to ComposTex's tightly bound matrix of polypropylene fibers.
  2. By protecting the surface of the windrows from the wind, ComposTex is also preventing odors from being transported away from the windrows.
  3. In situations where windrows become too wet and then anaerobic due to excess rainfall, the use of ComposTex prevents these excess moisture conditions and thereby also prevents the unpleasant odors associated with them.


However, since unpleasant odors can also be a problem in spite of reasonable oxygen and moisture levels, CV Compost has partnered with the manufacturer of a highly effective but relatively low cost compost additive (NOT an inoculant) which both encourages the growth of beneficial microbes and discourages the growth of microbes that produce the unpleasant odors and related VOC emissions. This technologically advanced and environmentally safe product is simply mixed with water and then sprayed onto feedstocks and/or active windrow(s) resulting in the rapid and measurable reduction of odors and related VOC emissions. Additionally, this technology also improves product quality as well as reduces operation costs due to reduced turning frequency or aeration. However, for compost operations using the static-aerated compost method that can NOT use a MACRO-POROUS cover due to regulatory requirements, CV Compost has also partnered with the manufacturer of a MICRO-POROUS compost cover specifically designed for use with POSTIVE-flow aeration.


Will ComposTex provide protection from excess rainfall on windrow(s) having more "flat" versus more "peaked" tops?
Since ComposTex sheds water by absorbing water and allowing this water to "wick" from fiber to fiber down the gravitational gradient, they work best when covering windrow(s) that have a sharp "peak" with long sloping sides. However, even on a windrow(s) with a moderately flat top, ComposTex can still provide substantial protection from rainfall because water will still be shed from whatever portion of the windrow(s) surface that IS sloped. So, let's assume you have a windrow(s) with a 18 ft "arc" (which represents the total surface area) and this windrow(s) has a flat top that's 4 ft wide. Since this flat top represents 22% of the total surface, the covers will still shed excess rainfall from 78% of the remaining remaining surface area that IS sloped. Additionally, since ComposTex absorbs at least 18 times its weight in water, this large volume of water will eventually evaporate as water vapor, which means that even on a flat top, ComposTex will provide a certain amount of protection from excess moisture. So except for extreme rainfall events (for example, over 1" of rain in 12 hrs), the covers could still reduce water infiltration substantially.


Can or should ComposTex be used in freezing temperatures?
Depending on a number of factors including cloud cover, the presence of rain or snow, the frequency and duration of freeze-thaw cycles, and the amount of heat being emitted by a windrow(s), ComposTex could become saturated with water and then freeze into a solid sheet and/or stick to the windrow(s) surface when ambient temperatures drop below freezing before the covers have had a chance to dry out. Therefore, the use of ComposTex should either be avoided on windrow(s) requiring frequent and/or regular access during extended periods of freezing temperatures, or the cover should be unrolled incrementally as a new windrow(s) is being constructed and the unrolled portion of the cover should be protected with a sheet of plastic to keep it dry.


I'm trying to increase windrow(s) temperatures in the cooler months - will ComposTex help with that, and is it available in heavier/thicker grades to provide extra insulation?
Although ComposTex is only about 1/16 inch thick, it does provide enough insulation that temperatures have been observed to be 10 to 15 degrees higher inside covered versus uncovered windrow(s) . It is not available in heavier grades/thicknesses, but as needed, two covers could be used instead of one to double the thickness and insulation.


Can compost covers prevent access to scavenging animals, birds, and flies:
Animals such as rats, mice, skunks, birds, dogs, and birds as well as flies can become problematic in composting systems, and especially when food waste is involved. The ability of a compost cover to prevent access depends both on the type of pest and how determined/hungry that pest is. For example, while the covers may be useful in deterring flies, skunks, and dogs, rats can more easily chew through the fabric and/or simply crawl under the bottom of cover. Similarly, birds such as crows and seagulls have been known to simply peck through the fabric. Ultimately, the best deterrent strategy is to immediately and fully integrate food waste into the compost windrow(s) and to maintain a very active/hot compost process so any potential food source is degraded as quickly as possible.


Are there any important issues to consider when an operator is planning to use ComposTex to reduce moisture loss in dry climates and/or conditions?
While ComposTex will reduce the rate of moisture loss to a limited degree by protecting windrows from the drying effects of sun and wind, there are some important issues to consider. For one thing it's important to know that since ComposTex is permeable to gases, some moisture will still escape through the cover as water vapor, and therefore the difference in moisture loss between covered and uncovered windrows may not be as cost effective as other management strategies. There are also "costs" of using covers continuously to try to reduce moisture loss including the extra labor required to manage the covers as well as the significant decrease in their useable life due to the additional UV-light they will be exposed to. Other strategies for reducing moisture loss that should also be considered include:

  1. Ensure windrows have sufficient moisture initially (ie. 60 to 75%) which will provide a good start to the decomposition process, especially if feedstocks are dry.
  2. Build windrows as wide as possible to create an optimal surface-to-volume ratio, thereby minimizing the moisture loss for a given volume of material.
  3. Regularly monitor the moisture content throughout the entire compost process.
  4. Reduce turning frequency which causes the greatest amount of moisture loss of any management activity (more detailed information is available on this subject in the article posted on this website titled "In Defense of the Pile Less-Turned - A Case for Low-Input Composting".
  5. As soon as a windrow becomes too dry (e.g. Below 50 to 55% moisture content) water should be added using an overhead sprinkler or SPRAY irrigation system (versus a DRIP irrigation system) to ensure the maximum surface coverage and interior wetting. If available, some compost turners are also equipped with a "watering manifold" which is the most efficient way to wet the entire windrow contents.


Do the covers have to be used continuously or can they be used just when needed?
While ComposTex covers are typically used continuously on STATIC-AERATED windrow(s) (ASP), TURNED windrow(s) do NOT need to be covered on a continuous basis, which will in-turn minimize labor costs and prolong the life of the fabric. The reason they don’t need to used continuously is that active (hot) compost windrow(s) release significant amounts of moisture through evaporation, and turning further accelerates this moisture loss, and therefore, leaving windrow(s) uncovered allows them to be rehydrated naturally by exposure to rainfall. So, unless covers are being left on active windrow(s) to reduce moisture loss by protecting them from exposure to the sun and wind in dry conditions, turned-windrows are typically only covered during periods of extreme precipitation and/or after the active phase is complete when curing and finished compost is more vulnerable to excess rainfall. Furthermore, the advantage of minimizing the use of compost covers reduces both the amount of labor required to manage them and prolongs their life by limiting their UV-light exposure. However, if active windrow(s) ARE covered continuously (e.g. to reduce moisture loss) in either a static or turned system, these windrow(s) should be monitored regularly for moisture content and then rehydrated (manually or by rainfall) as needed.


Are there ways to extend the usable life of ComposTex when they must be used continuously in high UV-light exposure conditions?
Because the polypropylene fibers used to manufacture ComposTex are treated to protect them from UV-degradation, ComposTex is expected to remain durable for 7 to 10-plus years when they are used primarily to protect windrows from excess rainfall during rainy or snowy/cold seasons in temperate climates with moderate UV-light exposure. Conversely, when they are used in climates with more extreme UV-light exposure AND they are used continuously, durability can be reduced to as little as one or two years. Fortunately, in these locations and conditions the durability of ComposTex can be significantly extended to 10 to 15-plus years by covering ComposTex with a layer of agricultural "shade cloth" (e.g. 85 to 90% shade) or "weed block" or "ground cover" fabric. And while CV Compost sells these products, they are also readily available throughout the world which could avoid the relatively high cost of overseas shipping.


OK, I understand all these benefits, but how do I know if these benefits will make the use of ComposTex cost effective?
Whether producing large or small volumes of compost, the cost effectiveness of ComposTex will depend on the “cost” of the problems caused by NOT using them compared the purchase price of the covers and the labor needed to handle them. For example, the cost of the problems associated with NOT using covers could include: higher production costs due to increased turning frequency and increased costs for screening, bagging, and transporting wet compost; as well as the reduced value/marketability of wet compost that smells bad and contains high concentrations of phototoxic compounds created during extended periods of anaerobic conditions. On the other side of the equation, the economic value of the benefits derived from the use of the covers have to be factored in, including: reduced production costs associated with improved process control, and; the comparatively higher market value of the finished compost due to maintaining optimum moisture content during the compost process and/or storage. These costs all are then considered along with the relatively low purchase cost of the covers, amortized over a fairly long useable lifetime, which is typically 3 to 10-plus years.

Are they difficult to handle and how are they put on and taken off windrow(s) ?
Because the covers are relatively lightweight and offer minimal wind resistance, they're fairly easy to install and secure to windrow(s) , even in windy conditions. The easiest method to put them onto a windrow(s) is to unroll them along the side of the windrow(s) and then pull one edge over the top to the other side, and pull the cover over the top of the windrow(s) as you walk down the length of the other side. On large windrow(s) , they can be unrolled as you walk along the top of a windrow(s). This process is simply reversed to remove the covers. The smaller covers (12, 15 and 18 ft. wide) can be handled by one person while larger covers usually require two or more people. Handling can also be minimized by using them only when they're absolutely needed such as during periods of heavy precipitation, or when it makes sense to cover a windrow(s) continuously such as with static aerated, curing, and/or finished windrow(s) .


Are there machines available so the deployment and removal of the covers can be mechanized?
For sites using tractor-pulled turners, a device known as a "threading frame" can be attached to the turner which raises and then lowers the cover as the turner is pulled through a windrow(s) - a diagram and photo of a threading frame can be seen here http://www.cvcompost.com/images/threading-frame-2.png. For "self-propelled" compost turners, some manufactures offer "Cover winder" attachments or "fleece-rollers" that are attached to the front and/or rear of the machine to mechanically deploy and remove the covers - a photo of a fleece-roller made by Backus can be seen here. Large self-propelled cover placement machines are also available (starting at $175,000 - source available on request).



Is there a certain side of the fabric that should be facing up or down?
There is no measurable difference in terms of water shedding between the shiny or rough sides of the cover. However, putting the shiny side down (facing the windrow(s)) will reduce the amount of fibrous compost ingredients that could stick to the more fibrous side of the cover (ie. from the “Velcro” effect), and also provides some additional friction (grab) between the cover and the anchors used to hold the cover down.


How are covers secured to the windrow(s) so they’re not blown off by the wind?
Stacked/stored truck-tire sidewalls used as anchorsBecause ComposTex is permeable and thereby offers minimal wind resistance, the covers are relatively easy to secure to windrow(s) , even in windy conditions. As described in the “Use and Care Instructions”, covers are typically secured to the windrow(s) by placing suitable anchors along the bottom edge of the covered windrow(s) - start by pulling the cover tight along its length and placing one anchor on each corner, adding additional anchors along each side as needed. Depending on site and wind conditions, anchors are placed at intervals of 15 ft (5 m) to 30 ft (10 m) apart. While sandbags are sometimes used, because they are challenging to handle and degrade from UV-light exposure, a better option is to use truck-tire sidewalls (with the "beads" still intact) since they provide sufficient weight, have a relatively large surface area, easily stack/nest for both moving around the site in a bucket or truck bed and for storage, can be easily carried (two per hand) and thrown short distances, they don’t collect water, and they are reasonably priced ($1.50 to $2.00 each plus freight) when ordered by the pallet (about 35/pallet). If not available locally, these sidewalls can be ordered in pallet quantities from F&B Rubberized based in Massachusetts. CV Compost prefers to use the "punched" sidewalls, but either type will work well. The company also has a variety of weights/thicknesses available, and we prefer the 15 to 18 lb tires since they are heavy enough to hold the covers down when they're placed at 15 to 20 ft intervals along the bottom of the windrow(s), but are still light enough to be relatively easy to work with.


Does ComposTex come standard with grommets, and if not, can grommets be installed?
ComposTex does NOT come “standard” with grommets, but they can be installed for a nominal additional cost. Typically, grommets are only needed when multiple covers are to be attached together to make a larger cover – for example to cover a large storage windrow(s) using rope or metal cables threaded through the grommets. The inside diameter (ID) of our grommets is ½ inch (12.7 mm). The hem at the grommets consists of two layers of fabric. Some customers have also installed their own grommets, although it would likely not have the double-thickness, reinforced hem as it does from the factory. Here is a link to an instructional video.


What sizes (widths and lengths) are available?
With some exceptions, for “long length” orders, ComposTex is available in any length and in widths of 12 ft (3.66 m), 13 ft (3.96 m) 15 ft (4.57 m), 16 ft (4.88 m) 18 ft (5.49 m), 24 ft (7.32 m), 30 ft (9.14 m), 36 ft (10.98 m), 42 ft (12.8 m), 48 ft (14.64 m), and 60 ft (18.30 m). For particularly wide and/or long windrow(s) we can install grommets along the edges of the covers to allow multiple smaller covers to be attached together to make one larger cover. So, for example, instead of one 126 x 126 ft cover, one could order three covers 42 ft x 126 ft with the grommets installed every 3 ft along 42 ft edge and then attach these three covers together. A significant advantage of this approach is that the three covers (at 217 lb each) would be a lot easier to manage than one cover 126 ft x 126 ft (at 651 lb). The maximum length for “short length” orders which are shipped from Vermont is 50 ft for the 12 ft wide covers and 40 ft for the 18 ft wide covers.


How does one determine the optimal WIDTH of cover to order?
As shown on our Prices and Quote Request page, ComposTex is available in many different widths, and the best way to determine the proper cover width is to physically measure the “arc” of the windrow(s) (ie. the distance from the bottom of one side up and over to the bottom of the other side) at the specific process stage the windrow is to be covered. The reason for this is twofold: 1. Because windrow volume, and therefore the windrow "arc", decreases substantially during the active composting phase, and: 2. Because it's difficult to accurately estimate the arc of a windrow due to variations in windrow(s) shape. However, if taking an actual measurement isn’t possible because the compost project is only in the planning phase, one can estimate the proper cover width by multiplying the width of the windrow (at the base) by a factor of 1.4 and 1.3. So, for example, assuming a windrow is 12 ft wide, one would need a cover approximately 16.8 ft wide at the beginning of the process (12 ft x 1.4) and a cover 15.6 ft wide toward the end of the process (12 ft x 1.3). And if this windrow might need to be covered at any time during the entire process stage, a 16 ft wide cover would probably be the most cost effective option since it would only be slightly too narrow at the beginning of the compost process and only slightly too wide at the end of the process. Of course, if covers are being purchased to protect curing or finished compost, the amount of shrinkage will be minimal and therefore the arc measurement shouldn’t change substantially.


If you’re planning to use ComposTex covers throughout the entire compost cycle, you’ll need to decide whether you can tolerate allowing the bottom edges of the windrows to be exposed during the early stages of the compost cycle knowing the covers will fit perfectly towards the end of the cycle. Or alternatively, you can purchase a cover width that will completely cover a new windrow(s) but will be slightly too wide after the windrow(s) height shrinks substantially. And since both options have advantages and disadvantages, for customers considering purchasing a large number of covers, we recommend purchasing one or two covers to see what width works out best.


What if the standard ComposTex widths won’t fit my windrow(s) exactly?
There are NO advantages for using a cover that is wider than needed, but there ARE a few disadvantages. For one thing, extra fabric lying on the ground next to the covers will tend to stay wet making the covers heavier than necessary when they need to be removed. This extra fabric will also impede water flow away from the windrows causing the compost closest to the ground to become saturated with water increasing the risk of leachate and anaerobic conditions.

If none of our standard widths will fit your compost windrow(s) exactly and it is unacceptable to allow a small portion of the bottom edge(s) to remain uncovered, there are basically two options. One option is to change the width of your windrow(s). The second option is to purchase the closest larger width and then tuck the extra fabric back under itself to keep it off the ground, or cut if off. Although ComposTex is incredibly strong and durable, it's also surprisingly easy to cut with a sharp scissors or utility knife.


Can ComposTex be cut and sewn to make alternative widths by the end-user?
It’s relatively easy to cut ComposTex with a sharp scissors or utility knife, and customers often cut longer sections into shorter sections – such as one 100 ft cover into two 50 ft long covers. And with a portable bag sewing machine (Union Special 2200 CLASS, approximately USD $2,000) and polyester thread (purchased locally or from CV Compost), one could also cut and sew covers to create any width or length needed.

How can I determine the optimal LENGTH to order?
While ComposTex is also available in any length, when deciding the best length to order, a site operator should consider both the weight and size of the cover when rolled up. While ComposTex only weighs .37 lb/sq yd. (197 kg/sq m) and rolls are easily moved around a site with bucket loaders, at a certain point a cover could simply become too heavy and/or bulky to be practical. For customers considering purchasing a large number of covers, we recommend purchasing one or two covers to see what size works best.


How do I know if my compost windrow(s) have the proper moisture content?
A compost windrow(s) is probably too wet if there's water oozing out of the bottom, it has an objectionable/foul odor, it won't heat up, and the inside is greasy or gooey. Conversely, if the inside of the windrow(s) has a light color, feels dry to the touch, has splotches of white ash-like material, seems to be excessively hot, and/or doesn't appear to be breaking down at all, it's probably too dry. An easy field test for measuring moisture content is to grab a handful and do a "squeeze test" - a few drops of water EASILY squeezed out of the sample represents an approximate 60-70% moisture content. The procedure to measure the exact moisture content of a sample taken from a windrow(s) are as follows:
1. Collect a representative sample from the interior of the windrow(s).
2. Weigh the sample.
3. Dry the sample completely in the sun, a toaster oven, or an oven.
4. Reweigh the sample.
5. Divide the difference between the moist sample and the dry sample by the moist sample weight - this is the % moisture in the windrow(s).


My windrow(s) are too wet - can ComposTex be used to dry them out?
For windrow(s) with excess moisture due to a relatively high percentage of vegetable matter, dairy cow manure, or excess rainfall, the moisture content can be reduced (albeit slowly) by using the covers during rain storms, leaving them uncovered during extended periods of dry weather, and then turning the windrow(s) to incorporate the dry outside layer and expose more of the wet interior to the drying effects of the sun and wind. If the windrow(s) is in the early stages of decomposition, this drying process would likely be enhanced by incorporating sufficient dry raw materials (e.g. Shredded yard debris, leaves, heavily bedded horse manure, etc.) to act as a bulking agent. And while using this strategy over a period of 4 to 6 weeks can dramatically reduce the moisture content of a windrow(s), the operator needs to be aware that under some circumstances turning soggy compost has the potential to create compacted/dense globs that have an increased resistance to physical and biological degradation.


Will ComposTex control unpleasant odors?
ComposTex can reduce unpleasant odors in two different ways:

  1. Odors related to excess moisture: ComposTex will protect piles from excess rainfall and snowmelt and thereby prevent the anaerobic conditions that generate unpleasant odors.
  2. Odors Unrelated to excess moisture: There are two main mechanisms involved in odor reduction by macro-porous covers NOT related to excess moisture: a. Water vapor being released from within the pile contains molecules of compounds associated with odors and this water vapor condenses on and within the polypropylene fiber matrix of the covers, thereby preventing these molecules from being released to the air; b. The covers create a physical barrier that reduces air movement at the surface of the pile that would otherwise transport odors associated with particulates and gases.


I’ve noticed a difference between the two sides of the cover - is one side better for shedding water than the other?
There is no measurable difference in terms of water shedding between the shiny or rough side of the cover. However, putting the shiny side down (facing the windrow(s)) WILL reduce the amount of fibrous compost ingredients that could stick to the more fibrous side of the cover (via the “Velcro” effect), and also provides some additional friction (grab) between the cover and the anchors used to hold the cover down.


I’m using a static aerated system - how much pressure decrease can be expected due to the ComposTex fabric?
The expected decrease in pressure from ComposTex covering a typical aerated static windrow(s) would be 125 Pa, or 0.5 inch of water.


Can ComposTex be used to dry out wet compost windrow(s) and/or for “bio-drying”?
Yes, because water vapor can also pass through this macro-porous fabric, ComposTex can be used to help dry out wet compost windrow(s) and/or for bio-drying. However, without forced aeration, the rate of moisture loss from a covered windrow(s) will actually be REDUCED due to the shade and wind protection provided by the covers. Therefore, if you are purchasing covers to help dry out wet windrow(s) that are NOT be provided with forced aeration, the covers will need to be REMOVED during periods of dry weather and then PUT BACK ON during periods of heavy rainfall. And since the outside of the windrow(s) that’s not subject to forced aeration will dry out much faster than the inside, turning the windrow(s) occasionally will ensure it will dry out faster and more evenly from outside to inside.


Can ComposTex be used as a ground cover to smoother and/or prevent plant growth?
While ComposTex can theoretically be used as a ground cover to smother and/or prevent plant growth, a more practical and less expensive option is to use a "ground cover" fabric that is specifically designed for that application. Some reputable manufacturers of those ground cover fabrics include Lumite, Dewitt, and Fabrico.


How durable are the covers and do you offer a durability guarantee or warranty?
ComposTex contains 100% UV-protected polypropylene fibers which provide exceptional durability of up to 4 to 10 years (or more) - depending on specific use and site conditions. We do not offer a durability guarantee or warranty that ComposTex will remain usable for a specific time period due to the significant differences in the way that covers are used by site operators, the amount and intensity of UV-light they will be exposed to, the frequency, duration, and seasons of their use, and their storage conditions. Besides handling the covers in ways to reduce the potential for tearing (see below), because the UV-protected fibers still will break down over time from exposure to sunlight, the best way to increase their useable life is to only use them when needed as described in the article titled "In Defense of the Pile Less Turned - A Case for Low Input Composting" posted on this website.


Are there ways to minimize the potential for tearing the ComposTex fabric?
While ComposTex is specifically designed to resist tearing when handled under normal operating conditions, one obvious method to minimize tearing is by avoiding contact with the metal edges of heavy equipment such as bucket loaders. And because ComposTex absorbs ten times its weight of water, another important method to minimize tearing is to simply avoid handling covers when they’re wet since the weight of the cover and related friction can concentrate pulling forces beyond design specifications. However, if weather and operating conditions simply don’t offer sufficient time to allow a cover to dry out before handling, there are specific operational strategies that can be employed to prevent tearing, including:


  1. Order covers of the proper size so that there’s NO extra fabric lying on the compost pad because this fabric will not only soak up extra water but will also resist drying thereby adding additional weight to the cover.
  2. When there’s occasionally excess fabric simply due to differences in windrow(s) size and/or from volume reduction that occurs during the compost process, this excess fabric should be folded under itself along the bottom edges of the windrow(s) to prevent any contact with the compost pad.
  3. If your windrow(s) are being turned so frequently that waiting for the covers to dry out isn’t possible, another option would be to experiment with reducing turning frequency as described in the article on our website called “In Defense of the windrow(s) Less Turned – A Case for Low-Input Composting” on our website at http://www.cvcompost.com/in-defense-of-the-pile-less-turned.php
  4. When handling large covers when either wet or dry, one should try to spread out the concentration of pulling forces to as large a surface area as needed to prevent tearing. For covers already in your possession, this can be accomplished by fabricating a series of simple “grab loops” at strategic points on the cover. These grab loops are made using a round object such as a hardball, tennis ball, softball, or even a “wad” of fabric. The ball or wad of fabric is then inserted into a “bunched-up” section of the cover and then tied off with a rope with a “loop” at the end that can be used to attach another rope or cable for pulling the cover on or off manually or by a bucket loader. A photo of a sample grab loop is attached for your convenience And to further spread out the pulling forces, two or more of these grab loops can be linked together with ropes or cables.
  5. Avoid having the covers come in contact with the sharp edges of equipment such as bucket loaders.
  6. If these three methods do not prevent tearing, one could simply cut a covers in half or thirds. When installed, the smaller sections can then be overlapped slightly with the seam anchored with weights as needed.
  7. For covers being ordered, the factory can install grommets along the bottom edges of the cover at a specified spacing (e.g. Every 10, 15 or 20 ft). And although these grommets are installed through 2 or 3 layers of fabric by the use of a “hem”, here again you will need to spread out the pulling forces by linking multiple grommets (ie. Groups of two, three, or more grommets) with ropes or cables rather than relying on the strength of individual grommets.
  8. And if these three above methods aren’t enough to prevent tearing because a cover is simply too large, it could be cut in half or thirds. When installed, the smaller sections can then be overlapped slightly on the windrow(s) with the overlap anchored with weights as needed.


Can ComposTex be repaired if accidentally torn?
On request, CV Compost can ship polyester thread for sewing (by hand or machine) any damaged covers. To repair small holes, patches can be made by cutting some cover fabric from one end of the cover and affixed over the hole using "Shoe Goo" or a similar waterproof, flexible adhesive.


I’m trying to increase windrow(s) temperatures in the cooler months - will ComposTex help increase windrow(s) temperatures?
As a layer of fabric about 1/16” thick (1.59 mm), the insulating properties of ComposTex can reduce heat loss which can increase internal windrow(s) temperatures 10 to 15 degrees compared to uncovered windrow(s) .


I’m trying to keep windrow(s) from getting too hot – can TURNING be used to reduce windrow(s) temperatures?
As described in my article “In Defense of the windrow(s) Less Turned – A Case for Low Input Composting” (http://www.cvcompost.com/in-defense-of-the-pile-less-turned.php), it’s my experience that using turning to reduce windrow(s) temperatures not only is a waste of time and resources (e.g. Due to increased fuel costs, increased equipment wear and tear, etc.) but it’s actually counter-productive for the following reasons: 1. As long as a windrow(s) has sufficient moisture, windrow(s) temperature should decrease naturally in a relatively short amount of time as the decomposition process reaches equilibrium with the amount of oxygen that can enter the system naturally through passive aeration 2. While turning may reduce temperatures in the short term by releasing stored heat, internal temperatures will rise again soon after turning due to the additional oxygen added through turning 3. Turning then can actually INCREASE internal windrow(s) temperatures by decreasing the moisture content within the windrow(s), which then reduces the amount of evaporative-cooling potential that would otherwise be available from this lost moisture.


Will ComposTex protect windrow(s) in areas of extremely heavy rainfall?
ComposTex sheds rainfall via capillary action within the thickness of the fabric. This process is facilitated by the physical properties of surface tension and cohesion of water, as well as the gravity provided by the sloped sides of a typical compost windrow(s). Once the fabric becomes saturated during a rainfall event, the excess water moves down the gravitational gradient to the cover’s bottom edge where it finally has no where else to go but to leave the fabric and drop out onto the ground. Since the volume or water movement is directly proportional to the thickness of the fabric, during extreme rainfall events (e.g. over 2 to 4 cm per hour), this water movement might be too slow resulting in some water to drip through the fabric into the underlying compost windrow(s). And because of this limitation, we suggest that customers conduct pilot tests during a variety of rainfall conditions to determine if ComposTex will perform as needed. And if it is determined that ComposTex does not provide the protection needed, a site could choose to double-up the covers during the seasons when such extreme rainfall events are likely to occur.


What's the difference between ComposTex and micro-porous covers such as the GORE cover?
ComposTex is a "macro-porous" cover containing one layer of needle-punched, UV-protected, polypropylene fabric. Unlike micro-porous covers, the "pore" spaces between the fibers of the ComposTex fabric are large enough that gases (e.g. O2 and CO2) can easily pass through.


Conversely, micro-porous compost covers such as the GORE cover are multi-layer laminate covers that are used EXCLUSIVELY to achieve odor control and MUST be used in combination WITH POSITIVE FORCED AERATION. Mico-porous covers typically cost about USD $70 to $90/sq yd ($84 to $108/sq m), and in the case of the GORE cover, are commonly sold as part of a multi-million dollar turn-key system that may include stringent contractual restrictions on the use of other technologies/equipment at the facility. For this reason, CV Compost has partnered with the manufacturer of another micro-porous, multi-laminate compost cover that can be purchased with OR withOUT any other aeration system components or equipment.


Does it cost much to ship ComposTex to North American destinations:
Depending on the width and length needed, covers are either shipped directly from the factory via " Common Carrier" ("long length" orders) or from our warehouse in Vermont via the US Postal Service ("short length" orders). Because the factory gets substantial discounts, common carrier freight costs are quite reasonable for "long length" orders, as are the costs of mailing "short length" packages via the USPS. Furthermore, due to minimum common carrier shipping charges, as the size of a long length order increases, the freight cost "per unit/cover" decreases. So for example, if the freight cost for one cover to a site in the Midwestern United States is $200, the cost to ship two covers to the same location will likely not change, which means the cost per roll would decrease to only $100/roll. Adding additional covers typically only increases the freight cost by about $15 to $20/cover. But even for small orders with relatively high freight costs, our customers invariably discover that the covers easily pay for themselves in just a year or two through improved efficiency and product quality. To obtain an exact freight quote, please fill out and submit an on-line Quote Request from our website.


Is there a minimum order size to ship ComposTex overseas?
There is no minimum order size to ship covers overseas but due to administrative costs and economies of scale, the shipping cost per roll decreases as the quantity increases. Overseas shipping is done either as a “partial” or “full” shipping container load but in either case the freight cost will be depend on: the number of covers ordered; the size (width and length) of these covers, which determines the diameter of each roll; the distance from our factory in Canada, and; whether the covers can be shipped as a partial or full container load. In addition, because the covers are always shipped in a roll (ie. long round package) that’s 12 ft (3.66 m) long, a 20 ft container will only be able to fit one group of 12 foot long rolls which leaves an extra 8 feet of unused space, while a 40 ft container will allow three groups of 12 ft long rolls placed end to end (36 ft total), which leaves only 4 feet of unused space. Therefore, the freight cost per cover decreases substantially more if enough covers are ordered to fill a 40 ft container.


The specific number of covers that can fit into a 20 or 40 ft container will depend on the diameter of each roll which in-turn will depend on the width and length of the covers. For example, the diameter of a 12 ft (3.66 m) wide x 164 ft (50 m) long cover will be approximately 14.7 in (37.3 cm). Since shipping containers are typically 90 inches wide and 92 inches tall, a 20 ft container should be able to fit thirty six 12 ft wide covers (6 covers wide x 6 covers deep) while a 40 ft container would fit three times that amount, or 108 covers (3 lengths of 12 ft long covers at 6 covers wide x 6 covers deep). For comparison, a cover 18 ft (5.49 m) x 164 ft (50 m) would have a diameter of approximately 21.3 in (54 cm ), so a 20 ft container could only fit 16 cover (4 covers wide x 4 covers deep), while a 40 ft container could again fit three times that number, or 48 covers. As needed, we can also ship covers via Air Freight but this method is considerably more expensive.


Can you provide some customer referrals/testimonials?
We have many hundreds of customers using ComposTex throughout North America and overseas. A number of these are listed on our website, and we can provide additional contacts/referrals upon request.


Will ComposTex reduce leachate and/or runoff and is there any related research on this topic?
There’s a difference between “runoff” and “leachate” and there are environmental risks associated with both. Leachate is water that runs OUT the bottom of a saturated compost and/or feedstock windrow(s) and therefore will contain high levels of nutrients and possibly pathogens. Runoff constitutes all the rain water and snow melt that falls on a compost site that’s NOT absorbed into the windrow(s) or the compost site pad surface PLUS any leachate. And while using ComposTex will prevent windrow(s) from becoming saturated with excess rainfall and/or snowmelt and will therefore eliminate leachate that would be generated if the windrow(s) were not covered, the rainwater that’s shed off the windrow(s) by the covers will still become runoff. And since water moving off a compost pad after a heavy rainfall will still be in contact with the bottom edges of the compost windrow(s) and therefore will absorb some nutrients and organic matter during this contact – which means coves can’t “eliminate” leachate or runoff and the need to manage the runoff, even if there’s no leachate from saturated windrow(s) .

Few studies have been done on the impacts of the use of compost covers on leachate generation, however, one such study titled "Covering Composting Windrows: Effects on the Process and the Compost" is posted on the CV Compost website at (http://www.cvcompost.com/research.php). And while the benefits related to preventing excess moisture conditions are fairly obvious, differences in site conditions (e.g. Size of windrow(s) , feed stock type, moisture content and ratios, time of year, climate conditions, etc.) also make it difficult to quantify these benefits.


Are there any scientific studies/research available quantifying the benefits of ComposTex?
Our website includes link to a number of studies and articles that discuss the use of ComposTex. One of these is entitled "Covering Compost Windrows: Effects on the Process and the Compost" by Monique Pare. This study concludes that covering compost windrow(s) with ComposTex significantly reduced leachate and improved both the compost process and the finished product.


Does CV Compost provide general technical support for compost operations?
Having over 30 years of composting experience, I’m happy to answer questions and provide some basic information. I can also recommend some highly experienced consultants for more advanced technical questions. Additionally there are some useful documents posted in the Composting Guidelines and Articles section of this website. These documents describe many important practical composting principles and techniques and include: “In Defense of the windrow(s) Less Turned – A Case for Low-Input Composting”, “Low-Tech, High-Quality On-Farm Compost” written by Vern Grubinger, and “The Horse Owner’s Guide to Composting” that provides specific guidance related to ensuring sufficient moisture in compost systems that have a high proportion of low-moisture ingredients.


How long will it take to receive an order?
How long it takes to receive an order will depend on the production time AND the transit time. Production time from the date the order is placed ranges from as little as a few days to two weeks for small orders (e.g. One to ten covers) to four to six weeks for large orders (e.g. Ten to fifty covers). Transit time will depend on the final destination AND how the order is being shipped (e.g. Postal service, common carrier, air freight, or sea freight). Transit time for North American destinations are typically two to ten business days while the transit time for sea freight shipments of cargo containers are generally 30 to 35 days.


Does Texel offer a durability warranty?
While ComposTex is treated to resist UV-light degradation and most customers can expect a minimum of three to ten-plus years of use, Texel does NOT offer a warranty because of the variability in how the covers are handled and stored by site operators and the amount and intensity of sun exposure. However, when ComposTex is used on sites located close to the equator AND they are used continuously (rather than just when protecting windrows during rainy seasons), durability can be reduced to as little as one or two years. However, as explained below, there are a various ways site operators can reduce the exposure of ComposTex to UV-light and thereby significantly extending its durability.


Are there methods that can be used to reduce the exposure of ComposTex to UV-light?
The simplest method to reduce the amount of exposure to UV-light is to restrict their use to rainy seasons, to extreme rainfall events, and/or when only protecting finished compost when pile temperatures are lower and the compost is more susceptible to becoming saturated from excess rainfall. However, if for some reason these UV-light protective methods are impractical, ComposTex can be covered with UV-blocking "shade cloth" or agricultural "ground cloth" which theoretically should extend its durability 15 to 20-plus years.


Can ComposTex be recycled after the fabric has lost its structural integrity?
When the fabric degrades to the point that it starts to lose its structural integrity, one option is to repurpose the covers as a geotextile fabric laid down double or triple thickness under new roads or compost pads. Otherwise, they should be disposed in a landfill.