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Green Waste Compost Issues

Green Waste Compost Issues

We have been made aware that some green waste products contain quantities of physical contaminants like sharp metal and plastics, which may make them unfit for use on some organic farms - in particular, but not solely, for livestock farms where stock may be at risk of injury. 

We allow green waste compost to be used on organic farms where the need has been identified and the compost meets the EU and SA organic standards. The SA standards include a requirement for PAS100 certification of the compost; however, this does currently allow physical contaminants to be present. The quantities of physical contaminants permitted depend on the grade of compost. For this reason, we urge you to take advice on whether any particular product is suitable for your business before purchase and applying it to land. 

Whilst allowing the continued use of green waste compost as above, we have decided to remove the Soil Association symbol from these products and, therefore, remove them from our certification scheme. This is because the presence of the symbol gives rise to the expectation that the products are suitable for organic farms in all circumstances. However, we have found this may not be the case. We have contacted the affected certified compost licensees to inform them and given the certified businesses 3 months’ notice to no longer market and package green waste using the SA symbol. Depending on stock levels of labels, you may still see the symbol on some products beyond this date.

The PAS100 standard is being reviewed via a consultation, which we have fed into through direct contact with those running the consultation. We will await the outcome of the review and may reconsider certifying green waste products in future if we can be confident that end user requirements in relation to contamination is satisfactorily addressed in the revised standard.

We would welcome any feedback from you on the presence of physical contaminants in green waste compost you have purchased. If you have any feedback or questions, please contact your Certification Officer.