Introducing … STA Certified Compost

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Courtesy of BioCycle Magazine

In a new development, the US Composting Council’s Seal of Testing Assurance Program can now be defined as a certification program.

The US Composting Council (USCC) is celebrating the 15th year of its Seal of Testing Assurance (STA) Program. The overall purpose of the STA Program is to improve customer confidence in compost selection and utilization, thus improving compost’s image and marketability. However, the USCC has identified a number of other benefits of the program for both individual composters and the overall compost manufacturing industry. These include:

  • Serving as a quality control function for compost manufacturers
  • Standardizing a set of test parameters (and methods) for use in evaluating compost product quality
  • Acting as a framework to allow implementation of established numerical product standards/specifications (e.g., state Departments of Transportation)
  • Assisting in implementation of an inspection or quality verification program for compost specifiers

What Is STA?

STA is a testing and information disclosure program. There are many different types of compost, produced from a variety of different feedstocks. These products look different and may perform differently in particular applications and conditions therefore they must be used correctly. Correct compost usage, however, is a function of having the appropriate product, as well as accurate usage information. The consumer has a right and the compost manufacturer has an obligation to make this information available to customers. Key elements of the STA program are on the USCC’s website.

In a new development, the STA Program can now be defined as a “certification program.” The USCC’s Market Development Committee understood that “STA Compost” resonates well with most of the professional landscaping industry, but may not be the most user friendly term for residential consumers of compost products. The USCC completed the marketing and legal steps needed to allow the Council to promote STA participating composts as “STA Certified Composts” (the trademarking process is underway).

Creating STA Certified Compost will strengthen the STA brand and make it more identifiable for the retail compost consumer. The USCC will launch a national campaign to promote STA Certified Compost through both industry and related media outlets.

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