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Household food waste can now be used to grow organic

Organic farmers can now use composted and fermented household waste on their land and crops, Defra has said.

Previously, it was unclear whether this waste met EU organic regulation. So the Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G) certification body asked Defra to clear up the confusion.

Defra found that the waste can be used as an agricultural soil conditioner or fertiliser as long as it is processed and certified to composting or anaerobic digestion standards, and comes from a source-separated collection.

OF&G chief executive Richard Jacobs said: “This is very good news as it opens up a new source of good, sustainable nutrients to organic farmers and growers. But we must stress that it is not a blanket go-ahead for the use of source-separated household waste.”

British Standards PAS 100 and PAS 110 lay out the criteria for compost and the production of digestate. But Jacobs pointed out that these allow for around twice the level of heavy metals than organic standards. He said farmers would therefore need to have the results of analysis on the supply and share this with the OF&G before using it on their crops.

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