This week (1-7 May) is International Compost Awareness Week 2016, and sees BBIA Managing Director David Newman speak at the Global Organic Resources Congress (GORC), taking place in Dublin this year (3-4 May).

As part of the week, a global network of organisations devoted to organics recycling and compost use are combining their efforts to bring attention to the multiple benefits to be realised when organic residuals are viewed as resources rather than waste.

The European Compost Network, Composting & Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland, Australian Organics Recycling Association, Compost Council of Canada and the US Composting Council have joined to emphasise the benefits of organics recycling and composting that transcend political and cultural boundaries.

  • The use of landfill space and incineration can be reduced by at least one-third when organics are recycled. Focussed attention on recycling organic residuals is key to achieving high diversion rates.
  • Methane, a greenhouse gas twenty-five times as powerful as carbon dioxide, can be significantly reduced through the recycling of organics instead of their being landfilled.
  • Soil health and productivity is dependent on organic matter in the form of compost or humus to provide the sustenance for the biological diversity in the soil. Plants depend on this to convert materials into plant-available nutrients and to keep the soil well-aerated. Additional benefits include the reduced need for pesticide usage to ward off soil-borne and other plant diseases.
  • Soil erosion is mitigated and water-holding capacity improved through compost’s enhancement of soil structure which helps bind soil particles together. Without good soil structure, soil erosion can remove nutrients from the soil as well as carry sediments into waterways thereby creating new sources of pollution.
  • Compost offers a significant answer to climate change mitigation. Compost’s return to the soil serves as a “carbon bank”, helping to store carbon thereby removing it from the atmosphere.

Throughout International Compost Awareness Week, community events will be held to encourage and celebrate organics recycling. All types of organics recycling – from ‘do it yourself’ composting in your garden, community garden or nearby community centre to large-scale community-wide composting and anaerobic digestion – are being promoted. The importance of the use of compost to bring life back to the soils for strong, healthy plant growth, improved water quality and conservation is also being highlighted.

This week’s GORC will bring together stakeholders to discuss the latest commercial and technical developments, challenges and future circular bioeconomy opportunities in the biological treatment of organic resources and the sustainable use of its products.

Organised by Cré (the Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland) and the European Compost Network (ECN), GORC is sponsored by BBIA member Novamont, CIC – Italian Composting & Biogas Association, SESA, Irish Environmental Protection Agency & the Irish Tourism Board.