Recycling officers plan home composting campaign

Local authority recycling officers are set to focus on encouraging home composting against a background of continuing concerns over the composting of organic material.

LARAC – the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee – was given a policy statement on composting by the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions at a meeting held in Ryton, Coventry yesterday. The statement makes it clear that any organic waste which has been collected from the kitchen cannot be composted and spread on land where birds can access it and this prevents it from being spread on landfill sites.

Mark Okuniewski, agricultural waste policy manager at the Environment Agency, who was also speaking at the event said that it was the Agency's duty to ensure that the Animal By-Products Order was enforced.

In light of these concerns, LARAC announced that it has joined forces with the Composting Association and Alan Titchmarsh to promote Composting Awareness Week next year.

Tony Breton, of the Composting Association, said that Alan Titchmarsh will front the campaign which will follow on from the success of this year's Composting Awareness Week. “The week will promote soil-improving compost as we are now trying to call it and aims to increase the amount of organic waste collected from the waste stream and raise awareness about how people can use compost. Alan Titchmarsh will appear on the front of a leaflet which all local authorities will be able to use to encourage home composting. About one million leaflets will be printed and local authorities will only have to pay for re-runs and the cost of delivery.”

Paul Deakin, chairman of LARAC, said that he believed Alan Titchmarsh will make a big difference to improve the profile of the campaign and encourage the public to start composting.

DEFRA guidance
The DEFRA guidance stated:
The government supports the collection of source separated waste and encourages local authorities to continue the collection of kitchen waste. Until the new EU Animal By-Products Regulation comes into force, however, local authorities will need to be clear that they are using only green waste collected in this way in compost which is to be used on land.

The Animal By-Products Order means that at present mixed compost may not be used on land where animals (including wild birds) may have access.

However, this position is set to change. The draft EU regulations on Animal By-Products will allow the use of properly composted mixed waste on all land except pasture land. We expect this regulation to come into force in the Spring of 2002.
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