Association outlines composting benefits as retailer joins 2002 campaign

The Composting Association has responded to the government's latest comments on composting and announced that it is to join forces with a major retailer to promote Composting Awareness Week.

The Composting Association has explained why it disagrees with the comments made by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in its response to the Environment Select Committee's report on waste management. The report raised questions over the safety of composting relating to poorly undertaken home composting and its potential to attract vermin and generate methane.

Tony Breton, of the Composting Association, said: “Whilst the Composting Association does not deny that poorly undertaken home composting can generate methane, vermin however will generally only be attracted to home composters by meat products which the Association does not recommend are composted at home. Generally the perceived problem of vermin is far outweighed by the overall benefits a home composting system can have on local biodiversity.”

The government added that composting is excluded from local authority targets because of the problems with calculating how much waste is treated in this way. But the Composting Association explained that consultancy AEA Technology is currently undertaking a research programme for the Environment Agency which addresses how this can be resolved.

TV gardener

Meanwhile, DIY retailer B&Q; has joined local authority recyclers and TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh in supporting this year's Composting Awareness Week which takes place between April 28 and May 4.

Hilary Thompson, sustainability manager at B&Q;, said “Raising awareness of composting and soil-improving composts is an essential part of our drive to promote sustainable gardening in the UK which is why we are extremely pleased to be able to support this initiative.”

Publicity for the campaign is already underway and over two million leaflets fronted by Alan Titchmarsh have been sent to local authorities and will be distributed to the public during Composting Awareness Week. Mr Titchmarsh said: “I've composted my garden waste for as long as I can remember. Every garden and home has enough waste to produce a rich garden compost that has many uses. I am very happy to be able to support Composting Awareness Week and hope it is a complete success.”

Janet Westmoreland, chair of the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC), added: “LARAC is excited at the opportunity of working in partnership with the Composting Association and welcomes the commitment of all campaign supporters. LARAC members are presented with an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of composting and it is hoped that all members will take advantage of Composting Awareness Week. Composting Awareness Week 2002 is not just about helping to raise the profile of local authority composting initiatives. The partnership the Composting Association has formed with B&Q; will help raise the profile of composted products throughout their stores.”

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