The US Composting Council was formed in 1990 by compost makers and corporate sponsors (notably Procter and Gamble, which was researching compostable diapers at the time)
The USCC held its first conference the next year, and has grown since to about 850 members, about 600 of whom are manufacturers of compost, with the remainder in compost research and soil science; consulting; marketing; allied products and compostable products, as well as a group of individuals and enthusiasts. About a third of the membership is local, state and federal government employees, many of whom are in the business of compost manufacturing or organics recycling.
The Council’s mission is focused primarily on large-scale compost manufacturing and marketing, and includes training and education of compost facility operators; certification programs for quality compost; and lobbying and advocacy campaigns at the state and federal level.
Composting Council Education and Research Foundation
A Foundation was created to conduct research, issue scholarships and fund educational programs to carry out numerous projects that serve the needs of the compost industry and community, including a Curb to Compost Toolkit for startup organics recycling collection; and a Compostable Plastics Toolkit that distinguishes compostable products from non-compostables. The Foundation was the sponsor of a scientific publication, Soil and Water Connection, A Watershed Managers Guide to Organics about the need for compost in stormwater, erosion control and other green infrastructure projects. Currently, the Foundation is the facilitator for a new credentialing project to provide a professional designation to compost facility operators training in a USCC certified method.
International Compost Awareness Week
This 15-year-old annual program began as a way to introduce consumers to the use of compost in garden, landscaping and other soil amendment uses. It is now an annual celebration with compost manufacturers, community gardens and composting programs holding compost giveaways, tours and open houses, backyard composting seminars and other educational activities.
This year’s poster, chosen by the USCC membership from among 220 entries made from around the world, is Emily Mozzone, a senior high school student from Maple Valley WA.
The Compost Industry
An internal USCC study done in 2013 has identified 3,600 compost facilities in the US. Of those, we have information about the feedstock (what is composted) of about 65%. Nearly 14% accepted food residuals at that time (prior to diversion laws in several states and large cities) and about 7% accepted biosolids (organic matter recycled from sewage sludge). The remainder accepted green waste (yard trim, leaves, woody material, grass).
In all, based on results of a survey conducted in Fall 2014, BioCycle, the official magazine of the USCC, identified 198 communities with curbside collection of food scraps, representing 2.74 million households spread out over 19 states. While this shows steady growth of about 10 percent, the enthusiasm for food scraps collection outstrips the progress shown in that data. Dozens of municipalities have formalized drop-off programs for residential food scraps, and entrepreneurs offer curbside subscription services in communities across the country, some of which have grown quite large (up to 4,000 households!).