REAL relaunches Compost Certification Scheme

Providers of certification and consumer protection services Renewable Energy Assurance Ltd (REAL) last Thursday (31 July) relaunched the Compost Certification Scheme (CCS), formerly managed by the Association for Organics Recycling (AfOR).

The CCS, which was first introduced in 2002 and currently has 179 members, works to ensure the safety and quality standards of compost made from source separated organic waste, such as food waste and green waste, in line with criteria set out in the British Standards Institution’s Publicly Available Specification 100 (BSI PAS 100) specification – which was updated last week – and the Compost Quality Protocol (which any compost producer supplying compost for ‘product’ must comply with).

It has been taken over by REAL following the 2012 merger of AfOR with REAL’s parent company the Renewable Energy Association. As such, CCS now includes updated scheme rules, a new website, and a new logo.

Relaunch details

A new website,, has been established as part of the relaunch to make it easier users and producers of ‘high quality’ compost to ‘find the information they need to gain and maintain certification under the CCS’.

The online resource also hosts new, condensed scheme rules – ‘version 7’ – which take effect from 1 October 2014. Until then, the old rules (‘version 6’) will still apply.

It is hoped that the new rules will be ‘simpler for producers to use’ as the 70-page version has now been condensed to 30 pages, plus technical annexes.

Further, the new website and logo both reflect an ‘increased harmonisation’ between the CCS and REAL’s Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BCS). Where the CCS guarantees the safety and quality of compost from source-separated organic waste, the BCS provides a standard for anaerobic digestate (in line with the PAS 110 specification).

Speaking of the changes, REAL Chief Executive Virginia Graham, said: “Having taken on the certification team from AfOR, we are stronger than ever when it comes to certifying the products of organics recycling. We hope the CCS members and their customers find the new website and updated scheme rules easier to use and we welcome any feedback. We are fully committed to growing the markets for recycled products from organic materials that would otherwise have been landfilled.”

David Tompkins, Sector Specialist at WRAP, added: “Certification of quality compost to the PAS100 specification is important for market confidence, and WRAP hopes that the simplification of the certification scheme rules will encourage greater uptake of the PAS”.

Benefits of the CCS

According to REAL, there are ‘a number of commercial advantages’ to being CCS certified, including:

  • being preferred partners for local authorities in Scotland and Wales;
  • providing an assurance that the materials have a consistent quality and are safe and reliable to use; and
  • reducing costs, as there’s no longer a need for waste regulatory controls on storage after dispatch and use (as CCS compost can be spread straight to land).

REA Technical Director Jeremy Jacobs, formerly the Chief Executive of AfOR, said: “This is a timely moment to relaunch the CCS that we first set up 12 years ago. Decision-makers are beginning to grasp the vital role of compost in efforts to build a sustainable economy…

“Composting has a crucial role to play in pursuit of these objectives, so it’s great that the CCS is now more accessible for producers and consumers than ever before.”

REAL, along with the REA’s Organics Recycling Group, will run workshops explaining PAS 100 and the new-look Compost Certification Scheme throughout autumn. The first workshop will take place at CCS-certified Hollybush Nurseries, in Wolverhampton on 21 October.

Find out more about the updated CCS scheme.