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First compost ‘product’ certified

The Composting Association and WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) are delighted to announce that Vital Earth (Derby) Ltd's composting facility at Ashbourne is the first to achieve PAS 100 and Quality Compost Protocol certification.

The facility, that has received capital support from WRAP, composts up to 60,000 tonnes per year of source-segregated green and catering wastes by using a two stage, in-vessel controlled process followed by an enclosed, aerated static pile system. It produces approximately 15,000 tonnes per annum of the 0 – 10 mm certified compost, which is mainly used in amateur horticulture and in soft landscaping markets.

John Wakefield, Technical Director of Vital Earth, said “Achieving PAS 100 and Quality Compost Protocol certification demonstrates to our customers that our process is well managed and our compost is of consistently high quality. The certification and 'product' status are important selling points that will help us to realise our compost's full market potential.”

The Quality Compost Protocol was developed by the Business Resource Efficiency and Waste Programme, WRAP and the Environment Agency in consultation with the Composting Association, Environmental Services Association, Defra and other industry and regulatory stakeholders. It is applicable in both England and Wales and sets out criteria for the production and use of quality compost from source-segregated biodegradable waste, without the regulatory controls for spreading compost on land.

Dr Richard Swannell, Director of Retail and Organics Programmes at WRAP, said “We are delighted that industry has embraced the protocol and its self-regulation approach so quickly. Vital Earth deserves our congratulations for this historic first, and producing a legally recognised compost product”.

Since the Quality Compost Protocol's launch in March 2007, 35 new applicants have joined the Composting Association's certification scheme, and the 138 composting processes on the scheme are together producing approximately 1.17 million tonnes of compost per annum.

Dr Jane Gilbert, Chief Executive of the Composting Association, said “Vital Earth has worked quickly to meet PAS 100 and Quality Compost Protocol requirements and achieve independent certification for their high quality product. Its 'product' status as well as its quality will give end users even more confidence in this valuable resource. The industry has a great deal of potential for further growth and we anticipate that achievements of this kind will prove valuable when differentiating quality composts from other materials and products on the market.”

1. The Composting Association is the UK's leading membership organisation for the composting and biological waste treatment industries. It is committed to the sustainable management of biodegradable resources. It promotes the benefits of composting and other biological treatment techniques and the use of biologically treated materials for the enhancement of the environment, business and society.

2. WRAP works in partnership to encourage and enable businesses and consumers to be more efficient in their use of materials and recycle more things more often. This helps to minimise landfill, reduce carbon emissions and improve our environment.

3. Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by Government funding from Defra and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Working in seven key areas (Construction, Retail, Manufacturing, Organics, Business Growth, Behavioural Change, and Local Authority Support), WRAP's work focuses on market development and support to drive forward recycling and materials resource efficiency within these sectors as well as wider communications and awareness activities including the multi-media national Recycle Now campaign for England.

4. More information on all of WRAP's programmes can be found at www.wrap.org.uk

5. BSI PAS 100 is the British Standards Institution's Publicly Available Specification for Composted Materials. It sets a quality baseline for composts, requiring that the producer has in place an effective quality management system for composting source-segregated biodegradable input materials.

6. The Environment Agency and WRAP's Quality Protocol for Composts was developed in conjunction with the composting industry, and sets out the criteria for demonstrating when composts are no longer subject to waste regulatory controls.

7. For more information, please contact: Peter White, Communications Manager, tel: 0870 160 3270, e-mail peter@compost.org.uk or visit www.compost.org.uk

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