Composting in flanders: the vlaco experience
Currently, the Flanders waste policy is based on the so-called ‘ladder of Lansink’. Six aerobic composting and one anaerobic digestion plant are operational for the treatment of biowaste. Some new composting plants are foreseen for 1999 and/or 2000. Composting retention time varies from 10 to 15 weeks. Green waste is treated in 15 open air composting plants. With respect to the use of compost there are several regulations. To achieve a good market, supported by a good and reliable compost quality, OVAM has set up in 1992 the Flemish organisation for promotion of biological and vegetation compost, VLACO. The quality assurance system of VLACO is based on regular visits with input, process and product control (Total Quality Control). Within the framework of the quality assurance system, over 400 compost samples have been taken and analysed so far. A second key task of VLACO is to investigate possible applications for compost. Research activities focus both on potential new markets as well as on sustaining existing applications. Thanks to the fairly intensive promotion activities and the constant effort to improve public awareness, compost has gradually become a familiar notion. The widespread introduction of composting in Flanders also helps to convince more people about composting being a useful technology and compost being a valuable product.