Implementation of an Urban Community Composting Programme

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Resource or Project Abstract

In 2007, the quantity of biodegradable municipal waste disposed of to landfill increased by 4% to 1,475,077 tonnes in Ireland. This was at variance with the 2010 target of 967,433 tonnes set by the Council Directive on the Landfill of Waste (1999/31/EC) (the Landfill Directive) (European Council, 1999) and demonstrates that despite concerted action over the last number of years, Ireland is moving further from meeting its obligations under the directive. Full implementation of the National Strategy for Biodegradable Waste is increasingly urgent, given that the first target year of 2010 requires a reduction in landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste of over 550,000 tonnes from current levels.
While the separate collection of household food and garden waste at kerbside increased by 20% to 18,705 tonnes in 2007, the reduced collection of household food and garden waste at civic amenity sites resulted in a decrease in the overall collection rates of 1,000 tonnes (Le Bolloch et al., 2009). This is despite the recognition in the 2006 National Waste Report (Le Bolloch et al., 2007) that the separate collection and diversion from landfill of organic waste must be accelerated. In addition to establishing services for the separate collection of organic waste, Ireland must now prioritise the development of an adequate infrastructure to treat this waste. Failure to meet Irish landfill diversion targets will result in financial penalties in the region of 180 to 270 euro million per annum (Cre, 2007). This study reviews the potential contribution of community composting initiatives towards achieving landfill diversion targets and investigates barriers to project implementation. The study assesses all aspects of community composting projects from waste collection and processing to compost production, quality assurance, utilisation, marketing, education and awareness. From 2006?2008, an organic waste composting project was established within a high-rise urban development in Ballymun, Dublin. This used in-vessel composting technology to process household organic waste to produce compost. The compost was analysed to measure chemical, physical and nutrient composition and then used in horticultural trials, at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin to quantify benefits and highlight potential applications. In addition, an education programme to encourage participation was developed, and marketing opportunities for local compost use were also assessed and defined.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr Sarah Miller
Ballymun Regeneration Ltd

Dr Peter Wyse-Jackson
Irish National Botanic Gardens

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Data, Files, Information Objects Related To This Project Resource

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Att: 1    STRIVE_40_Ballymun_compost_Summary_Findings.pdf  (0.38 Mb)
Project Report Optimised For Online Viewing    STRIVE_40_Miller_UrbanCompostingD_web.pdf  (1.78 Mb)
Offline Print Quality Version    STRIVE_40_Miller_UrbanComposting_prn.pdf  (3.13 Mb)

Suggested Citation Information

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Author(s)Miller, S. Wyse-Jackson, P.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationImplementation of an Urban Community Composting Programme
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifier14e6d878-2b0c-102d-99dd-ef394edc666a
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-07-16

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Miller, S. Wyse-Jackson, P.   "Implementation of an Urban Community Composting Programme". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-07-16)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource Keywordscommmunity composting In-vessel urban waste ballymun dublin regeneration organic biodegradable municipal
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2005-WRM-MS-34-M1
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeWaste and Resource Management
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceIn the event of obtaining access to datasets corresponding to this resource any datasets, data, or information resources being used in a journal article or other means of publication the original authors should be informed of this usage and an appropriate acknowledgement or citation is included within the published article. The EPA advise that this acknowledgement should take one of the following forms dependent upon how heavily the published work relates to the downloaded data: * Co-Authorship(s) for the original author(s)* Written acknowledgement within the body of the article* Written acknowledgement by means of the inclusion of a bibliography entry which clearly cites the original authors.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 3
Project Start Date Friday 1st December 2006 (01-12-2006)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Friday 1st December 2006 (01-12-2006)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Thursday 11th December 2008 (11-12-2008)
Published on SAFERWednesday 25th November 2009 (25-11-2009)
Date of Last EditMonday 21st December 2009 at 11:04:54 (21-12-2009)
Datasets or Files Updated On Monday 21st December 2009 at 11:04:54 (21-12-2009)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
Following a survey of suitable study areas within Ballymun, Dublin, Ireland a comparative analysis was carried out between three potential apartment complexes in Ballymun: Gateway, Having reviewed this information, the team decided to run a pilot programme at two of the preferred sites: Santry Cross and Gateway student accommodation. Both Santry Cross and the Gateway site met the minimum requirements in relation to availability of a site for the composter and interest from management and residents. However, demographics between both residential developments varied greatly given that the Gateway accommodation was primarily targeted at students. A pilot at both sites presented an opportunity to further test the selection criteria and identify results due to demographics. Additionally, because the success of the project would be dependent on a number of influences that could be determined only by assessment of a project roll-out, the implementation at two sites allowed future flexibility within the project. Pilot participants were a 50/50 mix of those residents who expressed an interest in participating in the project, and those who had very little prior knowledge and/or interest. Residents were given the opportunity to find out about this pilot through door-to-door introductions and at an open day in a nearby hotel. To facilitate an easy to use system, it was decided to operate a weekly door-to-door collection service over 8 weeks. The project was carried out with 21 apartments in each study area. Participants left compost bags or kitchen caddies outside their front door at a prescribed date and time to be collected by the project team.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
In 2007, the quantity of biodegradable municipal waste disposed of to landfill increased by 4% to 1,475,077 tonnes in Ireland. This was at variance with the 2010 target of 967,433 tonnes set by the Council Directive on the Landfill of Waste (1999/31/EC) (the Landfill Directive) (European Council, 1999) and demonstrates that despite concerted action over the last number of years, Ireland is moving further from meeting its obligations under the directive. Composting is a highly developed activity across Europe -in 2006 over 1,800 plants were in operation throughout Europe with an annual capacity of more than 17 million tonnes of biodegradable waste (Barth, 2008). However, current activity in Ireland is limited to less than 50 composting facilities, primarily dealing with biodegradable waste from gardens such as grass cuttings and plant leaves (otherwise know as garden waste) only.
Supplementary Information
In-vessel composting technology is economically and technically viable for small-scale organic waste processing. Urban composting projects can bring significant social, environmental and economic benefits to urban communities. Effective education is paramount to the success of community composting initiatives. Small-scale in-vessel composting can be employed to produce quality compost, which will meet compost quality standards, such as the proposed Industry-Led Quality Standard for Source-Separated Biodegradable Material Derived Compost.
The use of waste-derived compost in horticultural applications can lead to increased growth rates and improved soil quality. There is a local market demand for waste-derived compost. Commmunity composting initiatives, if established in all apartment developments in Dublin alone, have the potential to divert 14,680 tonnes of organic waste from landfill each year.
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