Why Community Composting?

Garden at Community Compost project Community Composting is one of the most sustainable ways of managing organic waste because the environmental, economic, social and personal benefits.

Community composting benefits

Benefits for the environment:

  • removes putrescible materials from people's bins, keeping the rest of the rubbish cleaner and easier to recycle

  • diverts resources away from landfill and incineration by producing a useful product

  • fits well with the 'proximity principle' - managing organic waste very close to its source

  • waste-derived compost can help reduce demands on endangered peat bogs in the UK and Ireland

  • community composting helps to meet the EU landfill directive and the UK waste and recycling targets - which can only be achieved by tackling the biodegradable fraction

Properjob project, Chagford, Devon.

Benefits for for communities:

  • it provides a neighbourhood level local operation

  • encourages people to get involved in the production and use of compost

  • usually involves human scale technology rather than big capital investment

  • the compost produced can be used to benefit the local community for example in local parks allotments and derelict land restoration

  • quality compost has value, for example many local authorities sell quality compost to local residents at between 2 and 3 for a 40 litre bag

  • well-run community compost schemes can inspire and galvanise the local community, bringing many benefits

Preparation of food waste for composting

Benefits for training & employment

  • sheltered work for adults with learning difficulties, e.g. horticultural therapy activities managing local areas of green space

  • training in key skills and personal development

  • vocational training in subjects such as horticulture and composting

  • maximises employment and training opportunities within the social economy

  • it can provide training for local unemployed people

Community Composting can lead to many more community ventures, for example:

  • Sheltered housing

  • City farms

  • Community gardens and parks

  • Market gardening

  • Schools

  • Prison schemes

  • Therapeutic and sheltered work establishments

  • Community cafes & healthy eating projects

Our video case studies show how Community Compost schemes deliver a very wide range of often hard to measure benefits to the communities they serve. The video below is a short case study of Compo, a Community Composting project in Narborough, Norfolk.

The Growing with Compost website has an excellent toolkit on the practicalities of composting. It contains a huge library of training materials and information resources on different topics related to community composting. You can use it to help develop your own project or to run a training event for people who want to learn about community composting. (To use the toolkit you need to obtain a username and password for the site by completing a registration form.)

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