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International Compost Awareness Week highlights benefits of composting

The Compost Foundation is hosting the International Compost Awareness Week this week (2 to 8 May), the ‘largest and most comprehensive education initiative’ in the compost industry.

This year’s theme – ‘Grow, Eat, Compost, Repeat’ – aims to empower people to recognise the importance of composting in growing food, supporting soil and creating a more sustainable world.
The week encourages thousands of volunteers around the world to engage with composting through workshops, competitions and fundraisers.

Compost organisations such as the European Compost Network and the Italian Composting and Biogas Association have voiced their support for the goals of the awareness-raising initiative.

Stefanie Siebert, Executive Director of the European Compost Network, said: “Composting organic wastes is a win-win solution.

“Not only does it reduce the harmful effects of leaving biowastes to rot in landfill sites or be lost through incineration, but it also helps keep soil healthy by promoting biodiversity and ecosystem services. Compost Awareness Week aims to communicate these benefits to people across the world.”

Massimo Centermero, Managing Director at the Italian Composting and Biogas Association, said: “Since the 1990s, Italy has been composting increasing quantities of food waste, currently circa 5 million tonnes which represents 70 per cent of all the food waste available in the country and about half of all food waste composted in the EU. 

“We return about 2.5 million tonnes of high quality compost to soil, and in a country at risk of desertification, this contributes to resilient, long term agricultural security.

“The key to success is high quality inputs guaranteeing high quality outputs and technologically advanced plants capable of managing these wastes.”

The Compost Foundation highlighted the benefits of composting in the run-up to the week, noting that composting recycles 83 million tonnes of biowaste and reduces carbon dioxide equivalents by 9 million tonnes per year.

It states these benefits could be increased 12-fold if biowaste were collected separately and composted.

Susan Antler, Executive Director of the Compost Council of Canada, noted that: “Research shows that compost supports crop productivity and can improve the nutritional content of vegetables grown in it.

“At a time when almost ten percent of the world’s population is exposed to severe food insecurity, compost is a natural and, with focus, accessible solution to improve both the quality and security of food for everyone.”