OPINION: Establishing the Compost Alliance to help tackle climate change

Jenny Grant, head of organics and natural capital at the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), discusses more about the recently formed International Compost Alliance (ICA). 


OPINION: Soil is not only is the source of almost all of the world’s food, but it is also an important store of carbon and provider of ecosystems. While it can take many thousands of years to form, it can be destroyed very quickly. It also has a crucial role in fighting climate change. Using compost brings many benefits to soils.

Jenny Grant, head of organics and natural capital at the REA

The recycling of organic materials into high-quality compost and digestate has significant positive social, economic and environmental benefits. Despite organics recycling being an affordable and proven solution to the climate change mitigation and methane emission reduction goals, it remains an underutilised and undervalued technology.

There have been some calculations done and globally compost has the potential to save 98 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents every year due to the carbon stored in soil and the avoided emissions as fertiliser. We are currently only at 9 million.

Over the last twenty years, the composting and organics recycling industry has seen the establishment of significant national trade bodies around the globe. During this time, we have had many positive collaborations around Compost Awareness Week. As industries have matured around the globe, we are faced with similar challenges and opportunities. By working more closely together, sharing knowledge, and developing solutions collectively, we will leave healthy soils and a healthy planet for future generations.

That is why we have formed the International Compost Alliance (ICA), a voluntary partnership made up of organisations across Europe, North America and Australasia to advance awareness and understanding of the benefits and use of compost on a global scale. The purpose of the ICA is to formalise co-operation and improve information sharing between organisations across the globe, strengthening the communication of key messages in accordance with the ICA’s vision and mission.

Our vision is a world in which the recycling of organic residues and waste is maximised in order to create quality compost and quality digestate to sustain healthy soils, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve food security and contribute towards the circular bioeconomy.

Our mission is to work collaboratively to maximise the recycling of organic wastes and advance the manufacturing of certified, high-quality compost to benefit the environment, society and our members.

Every country, business and person can help mitigate climate change by recycling their unavoidable food and garden waste into fertilisers and soil improvers.

With the establishment of the ICA, we hope to usher in a new era of global collaboration

There are so many benefits from using compost, these include enhancing soil health, improving crop productivity and nutritional value, improving water quality, and supporting biodiversity protection and natural resources preservation. The organics recycling industry plays a vital function by producing valuable products that can improve soil quality, increase soil organic matter and soil carbon and enable the production of food for years to come.

With the establishment of the ICA, we hope to usher in a new era of global collaboration to ensure that composting, soil health and food security is central to the efforts in tackling climate change.

The founding members of this International Compost Alliance include: The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA); The Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA); Compost Council of Canada (CCC); European Compost Network (ECN); International Solid Waste Association (ISWA); CRÉ – Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland; WasteMINZ (Waste Management Institute of New Zealand); The United States Composting Council (USCC); and The Compost Research & Education Foundation (CREF).

Membership is open to any membership-based organisation which aligns with the Alliance’s vision and mission of advancing organics recycling and producing high quality compost and digestate products.

The Alliance will work to maximise the recycling of organic waste

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