Following six months of consultation with members and stakeholders, the first Composting Industry Code of Practice (CICOP) to be published by the Composting Association (CA) has received a positive response from Ministers, regulators and the industry alike.

Chairman of the CA, Trelawney Dampney said that the code’s publication was a significant step forwards for the industry: “Covering all sizes of composting operations, it provides a platform from which the industry can continue to demonstrate its professionalism and I commend this code to the industry.”

The code provides industry members a route map through the maze of legislative requirements that have to be complied with, explaining how to gain authorisations such as planning permission, waste management licences (or exemption) and approval for the composting of animal by-products or catering waste.

It also recommends working practices that will make a positive contribution to the development of the industry, rather than just meeting the regulations’ barest requirements.

“Regulations can sometimes be viewed as burdensome and a hindrance to the development of new and innovative waste management practices – it’s never easy to strike the balance between encouraging innovation while protecting the environment,” spokesman for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) Donald Macfarlane pointed out.

“But the code will serve as a good practice guide for operators, while reassuring regulators that the compost plants are being run with sound environmental standards.”

Composting has become a key element in the drive to manage waste more sustainably, boosted by government efforts to minimise household, commercial and industrial waste around the country while obtaining more value from the waste that is produced.

“As the composting industry grows in stature, and with the introduction of the Landfill Allowances Trading Scheme (LATS) in April it has become more important than ever to disseminate good practice throughout the industry,” head of waste strategy for Defra, Lindsay Cornish stated. “This code of practice will help to do just that.”

By Jane Kettle

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