Compost as a 'product'
England and Wales
The Business Resource Efficiency and Waste (BREW) Programme, the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the Environment Agency (EA) in consultation with industry and other regulatory stakeholders have developed a Quality Protocol for the Production and Use of Quality Compost from Source-Segregated Biowaste' (referred to in brief as the Compost Quality Protocol).
Launched on 15th March 2007, by BREW, WRAP and the EA this protocol is a formalised procedure for the production and use of Quality Compost from source-segregated biodegradable wastes. Importantly, it clarifies the point at which waste regulatory controls on composted source-segregated biodegradable waste are no longer required.
Any compost producer who supplies compost for use in England and Wales as 'product' must demonstrate compliance with this protocol, its criteria including a requirement that the compost conforms with an approved standard (currently PAS 100). This must be done by obtaining a certificate from an approved certification body. The certification body will audit according to certification scheme rules agreed with the Environment Agency and obtain accreditation on an annual basis from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to BS EN 45011:1998 General requirements for bodies operating certification systems.
Northern Ireland adopted the Compost Quality Protocol on 1st July 2010. See the Northern Ireland Environment Agency's position statement here.
Scotland has not, to date, adopted the Compost Quality Protocol. However, in this country compost derived from composting processes and composts that comply with PAS 100's requirements may in some circumstances be considered fully recovered by the regulator (see the Scottish Environment Protection Agency's position statement here).
Fully recovered composts can be supplied, stored and used as ‘products' in thiscountry, however they cannot be supplied for use as a 'product' in England or Wales unless they are also certified compliant with the Compost Quality Protocol. In other words, compost certified to ‘PAS 100 only' which is placed on the market for use, or used, in England, Wales or Northern Ireland is regarded as ‘waste' by the regulator (Environment Agency in England and Wales, Northern Ireland Environment Agency in Northern Ireland), in which case waste regulatory controls apply to its supply, storage and use.
Last updated: 7th April 2011
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