New Trommel Accelerates Local Compost Production

SALIDA, CO - This week, Elements Mountain Compost received a new trommel sifter to process locally-produced compost and soil products. This machine will replace Element’s manually-operated sifter (home-made from bike rims and wire mesh) and allow them to process 10-times faster than before.

The Sittler stationary trommel stands about 9 feet high and 14 feet long and is powered by a 3-horsepower electric motor. Compost is dumped into the yellow hopper using a skidsteer loader and is fed with a conveyor belt into the rotating trommel. The cylindrical trommel drum is lined with heavy-duty wire mesh allowing fine particles less than ½” to drop down below the trommel while the larger “overs” drop out the end. The fines are stock piled and sold as high-quality compost in both bagged and bulk quantities. The overs mainly consist of wood chips and larger products that did not fully break down in the composting process.  They will be cleaned of trash and contaminants and then re-processed in a new compost pile.

“During the first two days of use, we were able to process about 40 yards of finished compost which would have taken weeks to sift by hand,” said Julie Mach, Elements Owner.  “The next step is to mobilize the machine for use at other on-site composting locations. Large batch sifting will allow us to move more finished product to market faster, and to utilize space at our locations more efficiently,” Mach said.

Funding for the purchase of the trommel sifter was made possible by a loan from SOIL Sangre de Cristo and a contribution from Chaffee County. Expanding composting operations in the county is an important component of the Chaffee County Waste Diversion Plan and could help keep thousands of tons of organic waste out of the landfill each year. Elements provides organic waste collection services for businesses and residents in Chaffee County and has finished compost available for sale in bagged and bulk quantities.

More information about Elements Mountain Compost is available at and a video of the new trommel sifter in action is on YouTube

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