RESTON, VA — Data collection, research and stakeholder meetings are underway in a series of initiatives by the US Composting Council intended to help close gaps in regulations across the U.S. where regions are lagging in development of robust compost facilities and organics collection.
The USCC projects focus on state permitting regulations, contradictions or omissions for compost facilities in zoning ordinances and local solid waste plans as obstacles for entrepreneurs who seek to open or expand compost facilities or compost sales.
The organization, which has been in existence more than a quarter century and has trained hundreds of compost facility operators and certified thousands of cubic yards of compost for proper use, wants to connect consumer demand for organics collection and more facilities to compost organics, from green materials such as yard and landscaping waste, to manure, to food scraps. The demand is being driven by consumers and municipalities seeking increased recycling.
Local regulations and zoning codes are often behind the curve when it comes to demand.
“When states consider organic waste bans it is critical to include all of the stakeholders in the planning process,” said Frank Franciosi, USCC executive director. “It’s important to have GIS data collection on all aspects of the waste process flow: the generation locations, the haulers and existing permitted composting facilities.”
In one project, a USCC committee is focusing on updating the Model Compost Rule Template, developed several years ago and used by many states to put in place tiers for permitting compost facilities. As the industry develops and changes, the template must reflect that; USCC is working with US EPA regions to gather data from states and local governments about changes in their permitting environments.
Another project being tackled by USCC’s Strategic Alliance Committee is the Target Organics project, which will produce a step-by-step guide for counties and other municipalities to add compost facilities and compost sales (both public, private and public-private partnerships) to their solid waste planning documents. Other tools under the Composting Council’s Research and Foundation that address contamination include the Compostable Plastics Toolkit, and introducing food scrap collection into municipal recycling programs, the Curb to Compost Toolkit, will be updated in months to come as well.
“If compost manufacturing infrastructure is developed strategically in areas of high generation and the compost product market is in place, it’s clear from our growing industry that jobs and economic opportunities are the result,” Franciosi said.
The effort in the coming year will be driven by USCC members; to help develop these tools or learn more about USCC: www.compostingcouncil.org.