QMS gives stamp of approval for Premium Compost

BSI compost recycled from food waste has finally been given approval by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) for use on farm assured land, a move welcomed by North-east organics recycling firm, Keenan Recycling.

The decision to approve food derived BSI PAS100 compost comes after QMS conducted extensive research and sourced expert advice from a range of organisations, including Cranfield University, the Food Standards Agency and Animal Health.

QMS Head of Industry Development, Andy McGowan, said

“We are very pleased to make this announcement, it has taken us a considerable amount of time to understand and quantify the areas we wanted to look at but we wanted to make absolutely sure that we had considered all possibilities.”

The turnaround has been welcomed by the NFU Scotland (NFUS) and the composting industry.

Chairman of the New Deer Branch of NFUS, Davie Smith, said:

“This has been a long time in coming, it took the scientists some time to evaluate everything that needed looked at but we are glad that Premium Compost has now been given a clean bill of health and is available to livestock farmers. A product that reduces our costs and improves the fertility of our soils is welcome.”

When demand for the compost increased two years ago on the back of soaring chemical fertiliser costs, NFUS supported farmers and contributed to the Technical Advisory Group which involved Britain’s top scientists, industry experts, The Scottish Agricultural College. The work was funded by the Scottish Government’s Waste and Resources Action Programme now known as Zero Waste Scotland.

Keenan Recycling, based at New Deer, deals with tens of thousands of tonnes of food and green waste from local authorities all over Scotland and also offers a recycling service to businesses and food processors with green targets.

The business, launched in 2001, transforms food and garden waste into BSI accredited compost at the award winning £3.2m Aberdeenshire facility.

Chairman of Keenan Recycling, Mel Keenan, who was involved in the advisory group, said:

“We are grateful to QMS for approving the compost as it will open up additional markets for compost producers and will allow livestock farmers to enjoy the same benefits as the arable farmers who have been using the compost for some years now. Due to the extremely careful due diligence that QMS has carried out we have all learned more about the compost and can advise farmers with the confidence.”

Compost made from food waste and garden waste has great benefits for soil, with long term enhanced levels of slow release nitrogen and a rich Potash source available. Soil health is also improved with the Phosphate content together with useful levels of Sulphur and trace elements such as Manganese and Magnesium. These attributes, combined with soil structure benefits and enhanced microbial activity, can reduce fertiliser costs and lead to higher crop yields. With compost created from garden waste there are certain QMS restrictions, such as no top dressing on grazing pastures. A guide for farmers has been drawn up by QMS which has been supported by composters in the North-east.

It is estimated that the average family discards around £400 pounds worth of food every year and as part of the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Plan food waste will have to be collected separately from other waste streams by 2013 and will be banned from landfill by 2015.

Managing Director of Keenan Recycling, Grant Keenan said;

“Modern families don’t like to waste food but they also tend to adhere strictly to best before dates with many claiming they are comforted when they see discarded food being recycled to help grow new food crops and reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.”

It is also anticipated that additional recycled products will become available in due course as a result of the breakthrough with QMS.

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