Reporter 439, 27 September 1999

Compost project proving where there's muck there's grass

Waste not: Professor Ed Stentiford with a handful of the experimental compost

Domestic and commercial rubbish is being transformed into compost used to grow plants and trees in a 300,000 project spearheaded in civil engineering.

The research - the UKs biggest of its type and led by Professor Ed Stentiford - will help significantly reduce the volume of waste being buried in the ground as landfill. The Government has imposed strict reductions on the amount of waste being dumped in the future, and the waste management industry sees composting as a possible solution.

The targets for local authorities include recycling or composting of a quarter of all household waste by next year and reducing landfilled rubbish by 60% by 2005.

The research aims to improve the way different waste streams are processed, helping to produce a more consistent compost. The different sources include domestic wastes such as grass cuttings and vegetable peelings, to industrial sewage sludge, sawdust and paper. The effects of blending these different wastes will also be assessed.

A large part of the project will involve educating and informing the compost industry - traditionally sceptical about waste-derived compost - about the new product.

The project is scheduled to last for three years.

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