New publication helps small butchers understand composting


EAST LANSING, Mich. — A new publication distributed by the Cornell Waste Management Institute (CWMI) and written in partnership with Michigan State University (MSU) and The Ohio State University aims to help butchers who run small businesses use composting as a way to handle carcasses and other processing waste.

The Space it Takes: Footprint Calculator for Composting Butcher Waste was compiled by Mary Schwarz and Jean Bonhotal, both of Cornell Waste Management Institute, and MSU animal science professor Dale Rozeboom.


It walks small butchers who sell directly to customers through the benefits of using composting to deal with waste. It explains the different types of composting systems that can be used and how to calculate the amount of space they will need for their compost systems.

“With few options for disposal, butcher residuals can become expensive to deal with — a cost that eventually gets passed down to the consumer,” Rozeboom said.

“Composting can provide an inexpensive disposal alternative. Even further, properly composted material is environmentally safe and can be a valuable soil amendment for some crops.”

Spartan ATC

The publication also provides butchers with several resources for compost space calculations, including the Spartan Animal Tissue Composting (ATC) System Planner that Rozeboom developed with Robert Kriegel and Howard Person of MSU in 2009.

“The Spartan ATC Planner is one of many tools that are designed to help people compost livestock wastes,” Rozeboom said. “The planner we developed is suited well for butchers, because it was specifically designed for composting animal tissue, either from whole carcasses or by-products from animal processing operations.”

To access The Space it Takes: Footprint Calculator for Composting Butcher Waste, visit

To access the Spartan ATC System Planner, visit and click on “Spartan Animal Tissue Composting Planner.”


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