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Smaller composters call for fairer protocol costs

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The introduction of a sliding pay scale to help small compost producers achieve quality certification could boost the whole sector. Brighton Community Compost Centre, the first community composter to achieve PAS 100, admitted the “the cost of certification on a per tonne basis is high”.

BCCC is one of the smallest composting sites registered under the certification scheme as it processes 800 tonnes of material a year. Although, director Jon Walker said in general the quality standard had brought benefits.

“Before the certification scheme we were trying to operate in a grey area of shifting regulations. Its introduction [in 2007] means we can now operate our enterprise within a transparent and stable environment provided by the Quality Compost Protocol. We can better plan for the future and concentrate more fully on our key purpose - producing a high quality product from localised waste.”

High cost

But Walker added: “At present, the cost of certification on a per tonne basis is high for us. But hopefully a sliding payment scale based on tonnages will be introduced which would really help to encourage localised composting by smaller enterprises. This in turn would strengthen and popularise the whole composting sector.”

Association for Organics Recycling managing director Jeremy Jacobs said: “Small scale and community composting sites play an important role in the UK’s biowaste management industry, especially within rural communities, inner city areas and other locations where it is difficult to collect and treat biodegradable materials. The costs of compliance, on a per tonne basis, are considerable for such small operators, so we applaud their commitment to achieving this product quality goal.”

No small achievement

Twenty-six of the 164 (16 per cent) compost producers registered under the scheme are relatively small sites that each process less than 5,000 tonnes of material a year. Nine of them have achieved certification.

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