Minister Phil Hogan launches CQAS 441 Compost Scheme

Minister Phil Hogan launches CQAS 441 Compost Quality Assurance Scheme

Mr. Phil Hogan, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government officially launched the countries first Compost Quality Assurance Scheme and compost quality mark, which encompasses the Irish Standard for compost quality (I.S. 441) at an  award ceremony in Custom House on October 17, 2012. Four composting facilities; Enrich from Kilcock, Co. Meath; Bord na Móna in Kilberry, Co. Kildare; Cremins Farm Compost Ltd in Charleville, Co. Limerick and Limerick County Council were accredited to the new CQAS 441 scheme. Each of the certified facilities creates quality compost from garden and/or food waste collected in Ireland.

Presenting the CQAS 441 certificates Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan, T.D., said “The New National Waste Policy, A Resource Opportunity, published in July, clearly points to where I want to see the sector develop.  My priority is to see the maximum resource derived from what is currently seen as waste.  I want to see the maximum value extracted in Ireland in terms of value and of jobs.  The compost sector is just such an example of a successful indigenous industry that has the potential to grow even further when we roll out brown bins to the majority of homes to collect garden and food waste over the next four years.”

The Minister added “My new waste policy, and proposed household food waste regulations emphasise the need for Ireland to use waste as a resource and CQAS 441 encourages producers to divert bio-waste knowing that it will be used to manufacture quality compost.  I have made my commitment to the move from landfill to productive uses for waste resources clear from the very start.  The twin track approach of developing a national standard for compost as well as a quality assurance scheme shows the type of sophisticated approaches that were required and which thankfully we have embraced to successfully deal with tackling the levels of biowaste.”

The CQAS 441Compost Quality Assurance Mark has been developed for use only by production sites that have reached this standard and are certified.  The four certified facilities primarily supply high quality compost to the commercial horticulture, landscaping and agriculture sectors. More facilities will be certified to produce quality assured compost that will be packaged in smaller quantities for sale to householders and the retail sector.

“I encourage all composting operators in the private and the public sector to be compliant with the I.S. 441 and to get their facility up to standard to allow it to achieve CQAS 441 certification – it makes good business sense and is good for the environment too,” said Minister Hogan.

The composting industry called for the need for third party certification of processes and products in composting facilities in order to bring the industry into line with European best practice and to help increase competitiveness.  A certified facility must implement prescribed procedures thereby requiring more manpower and creating jobs in order to produce a higher quality end product. This work is supported by additional revenue from quality compost sales.

CQAS 441 is audited and managed by Certification Europe under the rx3 programme to develop markets for recyclable materials here in Ireland, funded by the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government.

Composting in Ireland – the figures

  • Over 269,000 tonnes of waste materials were composted in Ireland in 2010
  • The customers for compost are mainly horticulture and agriculture industries for food production and landscaping industries for sports pitches, public parks and gardens
  • 363 people are directly employed on the island of Ireland in composting with a further 2,573 indirect jobs, with further employment likely with the expansion envisaged in response to national policy
  • rx3 says there is potential to grow the composting industry significantly, diverting more resources from landfill, increasing employment,  and increasing compost production and compost sales revenue.

Visit our CQAS 441 section to find out more about becoming certified to CQAS 441.

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