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Champagne start to key week

MPs and key waste industry figures have celebrated the launch of an important charter as the nation marks Compost Awareness Week.

The Composting Industry Code of Practice was published to clearly summarise the legal and practical requirements for undertaking the activity.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs head of waste strategy Lindsay Cornish said: "As the composting industry grows in stature, and with the introduction of the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme in April, it is more important than ever to disseminate good practice throughout the industry. This Code of Practice will help do just that."

Scotland's Minister for Environment and Rural Development Ross Finnie added: "I welcome this Code of Practice as a demonstration of the composting industry's desire to achieve high standards in the safe production of good quality compost."

The code was launched by the Composting Association on Sunday May 1 - the first of seven days of awareness raising for the trade body.

Hopes are high that Compost Awareness Week will be even bigger this year than it was in 2004 when more than 250 events were held across the UK.

Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones launched the week in Wales on Sunday.

He said: "It is important for people to realise that, by doing something as easy as composting our kitchen and garden waste, we can make a huge difference.

"Composting is simple, even in a small garden, and compost bins can be readily purchased in most garden centres and DIY stores."

The Waste and Resources Action Programme got in on the act, creating a model contract that can be used by local authorities and composting companies.

Available at www.wrap.org.uk, the contract is designed to be flexible and has a choice of options, different clauses and space for extra terms to be added.

A Somerset County Council spokesman said: "The contract is very robust, and strikes a good balance between the needs of local authorities and composting contractors."

One in three English householders say they compost at home, and the amount of green waste collected at the kerbside has doubled in two years.

The Composting Industry Code of Practice is available at www.compost.org.uk.

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