EPA-funded research reviews potential standard for biodegradable waste material manufactured into compost

Date released: May 27 2009

An EPA-funded research report into a potential standard - for compost derived from biodegradable waste material - was today launched by the Minister of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mr. John Gormley, TD.

Research into the potential standard was conducted by Cré - Composting Association of Ireland.  Researchers undertook a detailed consultation with a wide variety of stakeholders and the report proposes upper limits for heavy metals, pathogens and impurities. Compost limits put forward by agricultural, horticultural and landscaping industries were determined in the research report following an assessment of any potential impacts on human, plant, soil, animal health or the environment.

Larry Stapleton, EPA Director, Office of Environmental Assessment said:

“Although significant progress has been made in managing waste, Ireland is in danger of missing a key EU target for diverting biodegradable municipal waste from landfill. The work presented in today’s research report sets out a scientific basis for improved management of biodegradable waste and will contribute to achieving national goals in this area. The research will support sustainable waste management”.

The final results of the project were presented to scientists, policymakers and other stakeholders at a special launch event in Dublin today.

Download the report Development of an Industry-Led Quality Standard for Source-Separated Biodegradable Material Derived Compost.

Further information: Niamh Leahy, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours)

Notes to Editor:

  • The EPA research programme for the period 2007-2013 is entitled Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for the Environment (STRIVE) and is based on the following:
  • The Environmental Research Sub-programmes of the National Development Plan 2007-2013; 
  • The Government’s Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation launched in 2006; 
  • The EPA’s most recent assessments of Ireland’s environment; 
  • The EPA’s strategy 2020 Vision – Protecting and Improving Ireland’s Environment; 
  • A series of workshops organised by the Agency, mainly during 2006, involving environmental policymakers, managers and researchers; 
  • The experience gained in previous EPA research programmes.

It also takes account of developments at EU level in respect of current environment and research programmes and of the wider international context.

The purpose of the programme is to protect and improve the natural environment by addressing key environmental management issues through the provision of world-class scientific knowledge generated through a vibrant, competitive programme of research developed supported and co-ordinated by EPA.

Download the EPA STRIVE Research Programme 2007-2013.

The funding for the programme is provided from a number of sources:

  • €93 million provided in the Environmental Research Sub-programme of the NDP 2007-2013; 
  • €8 million provided for research in aspects of climate change, transboundary pollution and earth observation under the Inter Departmental Committee for the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (IDC-SSTI);
  • Co-funding with other state agencies and funding groups for projects / themes where such an arrangement would deliver synergies and increase the utilisation of results;
  • EPA core funding for staffing the management of the programme.

Other sources of funding for environmental research under the programme will continue to be developed as appropriate.