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Call for tighter compost controls

Environmental managers have backed sector efforts to improve composting quality while minimising pollution risk.

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), has published a new policy document [pdf], calling for a “clear regulatory footing for controls on composting treatment”.

Its executive director Nick Reeves said: “The composting industry has grown rapidly in recent years. CIWEM recognises that standards are necessary to protect environmental and human health and provide further market confidence in the quality of the product.

“We support the efforts of both Government and the commercial sector to develop and implement quality controls and also urge the Government to set increasingly challenging recycling and landfill diversion targets to increase rates of recovery and recycling.”

The institute said regulation of composting should be tightened within a suitable timescale to give operators the chance to prepare to meet the new standard and tighter regulation. But consideration should be given to small scale and home composting where waste can still be recovered.

A CIWEM spokesperson said the current PAS 100 standard for safety and quality should revert to its 2005 version until a Europe-wide standard for composting has been issued. 

“This provides fairness and equality across all member states and allows a reasonable timeframe for implementation of the International Standard.

“Once the end of waste criteria for biodegradable waste has been agreed by Europe then the revised standard should reflect this through the issue of an International Standard (ISO) for composting.”

Jeremy Jacobs, managing director of the Association for Organics Recycling (AfOR), backed the UK composting industry’s commitment to producing PAS 100 quality composts.

“We are pleased to see the steps that our nascent anaerobic digestion industry have taken towards producing PAS 110 quality digestates. PAS quality is vital to sustainable, growing markets for composts and digestates.”

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