Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Compost Awareness Week - Australian actions

Here in Australia individual compost and mulch products will be certified to ensure they meet a set of quality assured criteria guaranteeing the standard of compost products. The Compost Products Certification Brand was launched today.

The Compost Products Certification Scheme, which is being launched as part of International Composting Awareness Week, has been developed by Compost Australia, the National Association for the Organics Processing and Recycling Industry and Sustainability Victoria.

Building on the existing Australian standards, the new scheme is set to hit the Australian market in August and will enable users to identify quality compost products that are specifically designed to meet their requirements. Certified products will carry a distinctive leaf logo.

Participating products will be independently certified through a process requiring fully documented quality management systems for compost production, registration of application-specific products, independent auditing of composting processes, and laboratory testing of compost products.

Compost Australia national projects manager Angus Johnston said compost delivered a range of positive environmental outcomes, including saving water, improving soil health, reducing fertiliser use, reducing soil erosion and improving nutritional balance. "Until now the recycled organics industry has been distracted by the important challenge of getting organic materials out of landfill," he said. "In this new paradigm, product demand will drive recycling and the environmental benefits that go along with it." Johnston said developing markets for compost, a carbon rich resource, can prevent a significant amount of greenhouse emission each year due to the diversion of organic waste from landfill, as well as increasing the uptake of carbon dioxide by soils. "In NSW alone the (compost) processing and application of composts saved approximately half a million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2006," he said. He added it was estimated that NSW saved 1.7GL of water in 2006 by the addition of compost products to urban and agricultural soils.

This scheme is somewhat contrary to the Darwin Council attitude who wish to turn all their compost production into oil. Whether current production at the Shoal Bay landfill meets or goes close to meeting these criteria is unknown. Critical to the process is open and quality record keeping for all materials, as well as auditing.

No comments: