Experience of develping a compost quality assuranca scheme in Ireland

rx3, www.rx3.ie, is a Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government (DECLG) Programme established to help develop markets for recycled material in Ireland to form new products, including compost.
Barriers to market development for compost products in Ireland identified in the past included the lack of a compost quality assurance scheme (CQAS) and a national compost quality standard (CQS) to prove that the process has been independently verified as being bona-fide and the compost is high quality and suitable for the intended purpose. rx3 has an objective to address this issue by working with stakeholders and using existing work.

Further Authors:
J. O'Neill - Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government

Cré, the Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland, conducted research that was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This research analysed Irish compost quality databases and proposed appropriate limit values for certain parameters. Cré then developed an industry quality standard for source separated biodegradable waste derived compost, tailored to Irish conditions. This standard proposed limit values for parameters including heavy metals, pathogens, impurities, stability and organic matter. This report “Development of an Industry- Led Quality Standard for Source-Separated Biodegradable Material Derived Compost” was published in 2009. In 2009, rx3 requested the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) to develop a CQS for source separated biodegradable derived compost. The NSAI used published research that compared Irish compost quality databases with databases and standards from other European countries. Irish Standard 441:2011 was published June 2011. rx3 appointed Certification Europe to develop a CQAS using I.S. 441 specifications. Work started February 2011 and comprises three phases.
• Phase one: initial drafting of the relevant CQAS documentation.
• Phase two: trialling of the draft CQAS at suitable compost facilities.
During this phase a competent auditor audits the facility using the Draft CQAS as criteria and identifies areas for improvement and recommendations. A sitespecific training package and an action programme with defined responsibilities and timelines is developed and presented to the operator. Certification Europe assists the organisation implement recommendations and prepare for pilot certification. The key challenge is balancing CQAS requirements with existing regulatory requirements. Not adding regulatory burden is important for successful uptake of the CQAS, by the composting industry.
• Phase three: operating the CQAS on a pilot basis.
Twenty composting facilities have been recruited, audited and trained by March 2012, representing 69% (288,500 tonnes) of the operational capacity of Irish composting facilities. Results from the trialling phase have highlighted that the majority of producers are well prepared and have documented procedures and processes that support a seamless progression to certification. Furthermore, the feedback from operators has been very positive. Certification Europe has developed a quality mark, to assist in marketing and identifying high quality compost, increasing overall awareness and understanding of quality issues in compost. CQAS I.S. 441 will enter phase three in July 2012, when it will be implemented on a pilot basis, with facilities being certified and certified compost coming onto the market. An awareness programme is being implemented to develop awareness of the scheme in compost users. Following development, the CQAS will be self-funding.

Copyright: © European Compost Network ECN e.V.
Quelle: Orbit 2012 (Juni 2012)
Seiten: 8
Preis inkl. MwSt.: € 8,00
Autor: Conor McGovern
Dr Munoo Prasad

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