International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) has returned this year, from 6 – 12 of May, with councils reminding residents of the value of recycling and composting, with competitions and giveaways.
And, Jeremy Jacobs, technical director at the Renewable Energy Association (REA) has taken the opportunity to reinforce the importance of producing quality composts.
“The whole point of Compost Awareness Week is to raise the importance of this great industry and its output to as wide an audience as possible,” he said. “As well as promoting the wider recycling agenda, compost can demonstrate this virtuous circle of returning biowaste back to the land to improve soil health, reduce the use of artificially produced fertilisers and mitigate the impacts of climate change through carbon capture and through getting this material out of landfill.”
“The whole point of Compost Awareness Week is to raise the importance of this great industry and its output to as wide an audience as possible.”
“Quality is at the heart of the sector’s ambition and this is assisted by the PAS 100 Certification Scheme which sets minimum criteria for key parameters within the compost. It is however, the responsibility of all those involved in the supply chain to contribute towards quality.”
Mr Jacobs emphasised the role the public, local authorities and operators of anaerobic digestion and composting facilities have to play.
“For householders, it is important that they only place the correct material in the garden waste bin. For those responsible for collection they have the opportunity to ‘police’ collections and reject poor quality inputs. Lastly the operator of the composting site can screen and clean the material prior to despatching it, but this should be the port of last call. Up-stream cleaning is where the real opportunities lie in order that quality compost can be manufactured and returned to farmland and gardens Nationwide where it plays such a valuable role.”
In celebration of Compost Awareness Week, re3 – the partnership between Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham borough councils and waste company FCC Environment – is launching its branded compost, re3grow.
The compost is an example of closing the loop for garden waste collected from the kerbside or deposited free of charge at the recycling centre, the partnership says.
Re3grow can be purchased at both recycling centres, Longshot Lane in Bracknell and Smallmead in Reading directly from the meet and greet teams.
Cllr Mrs Dorothy Hayes MBE, Bracknell Forest’s executive member for environment and chairman of the Joint Waste Disposal Board said: “I am thrilled that re3grow compost is now on sale and I am certain it will be very popular. This product was possible thanks to the strong partnership of the Councils and FCC Environment and is the outcome of fantastic efforts by residents of Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham Boroughs who recycle garden waste either via kerbside or at the local recycling sites.
“The process of composting is one of the best examples of closed loop recycling and it’s great to see the garden waste from the re3 area is going full circle and back into residents’ gardens as a quality compost.”
Cllr Liz Terry, Reading borough council’s lead councillor for neighbourhoods commented: “Last year re3 collected and processed over 25,000 tonnes of garden waste for our residents and this compost takes that service to another level. It is because of the care that members of the public take when recycling their garden waste, ensuring they don’t mix it with any other types of waste, we are able to produce such high-quality compost and offer it for sale, at a competitive price, at the re3 recycling centres.”
The re3grow compost is made from recycled garden waste, including material from the re3 area. Re3grow compost conforms to BSI PAS 100 and the Compost Quality Protocol to provide essential nutrients for healthy plant growth.
In the North West, Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) is encouraging more residents to compost at home by partnering with www.getcomposting.com, as part of International Compost Awareness Week 2018.
Residents can purchase discounted compost converters from £17.98 and with the “Buy One Get One Half Price” offer, residents can purchase a second compost converter from £8.99. As well as compost bins, residents will also find food waste digesters and hot composters which can compost household food waste.
According to MRWA, composting is a cheaper alternative to chargeable garden waste collections. The authority said more than 30% of the average household waste can be composted.
A spokesperson for MRWA said: “Home composting organic waste also helps to significantly reduce carbon emissions and can also be used as an effective and sustainable waste management method to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.”
Another local authority taking part in the annual event is Durham county council. The council’s waste strategy team is working in partnership with local charity, Durham Community Action, and its ‘Growing Durham’ initiative which encourages more people to grow their own food.
The competition will encourage local schools and community groups to get involved over the summer by growing the tallest sunflower or largest pumpkin. The winning team will receive a £100 voucher for gardening equipment for the school or group.
John Shannon, strategic waste manager said: “By composting we can reduce the amount of household and garden waste we produce. Composting also improves soil quality so can be used to feed plants and gardens.
“We want to raise awareness of these benefits and encourage people to start composing at home if they don’t already.”
During ICAW 2018, the council’s waste strategy team will also be holding a composting information stall at Durham city market on Saturday, 12 May. People are encouraged to get advice on how to start composting and how to make the most of their day-to-day waste.
In Belfast, the city council is giving away compost made from Belfast’s food waste. From Sun 6 May – Sun 12 May residents are encouraged to visit any on the council’s four recycling centres to claim a free bag of compost.
Also in recognition of Compost Awareness Week, compostable packaging manufacturer Vegware has released a guide to packaging which is available on its website: https://www.vegware.com/news/2018/05/04/international-compost-awareness-week-2/