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Unlocking the Potential of Community Composting - WR0211

Community based composting schemes can make valuable contributions to the development of local infrastructure and amenities by improving soils and green spaces in addition to diverting waste from landfill. Furthermore, well managed community activities have potential for providing work and volunteering opportunities, as well as bringing people together and improving skills, knowledge and self-confidence. Considered collectively these factors may contribute to local sustainability more effectively than focusing on meeting particular waste related targets.
Although there is some anecdotal and financial evidence for the growth in, and diversity of, community composting, there is very little comprehensive data that draws together the activity of the sector as a whole. This research set out to understand and assess the current and potential role of the community composting sector in achieving Defra’s waste related targets and Government’s other wider environmental and social objectives. Thus this research is timely both in terms of establishing what has been achieved in the community composting sector to-date and in terms of possibilities for future achievements.
The principal beneficiaries of this work are community composting practitioners, although the project will also be of interest to community support organisations, local authorities and policymakers. Existing and new community composting groups will benefit from this work in designing, implementing and running schemes, and in demonstrating performance and added value, essential for development of the sector. It will help increase local authority awareness and aid decision making by demonstrating added-value and cross-departmental benefits, and can be useful for second-tier organisations in supporting and promoting the sector.
The overall aim of this project was to assess and help unlock the potential role of the community composting sector in contributing to Defra’s waste related targets and to Government’s more broad environmental and social objectives, by understanding and evaluating successful schemes and determining their transferability.

The project had eight key objectives:
1. Data collection on the type and level of activities in the community composting sector.
2. To analyse data collected in Objective 1 and write a report to profile and characterise the community composting sector, identify key success factors and barriers and investigate the relationship between different models and collection environments.
3. To develop and test a practical framework to evaluate community composting initiatives.
4. To apply the framework to evaluate community composting initiatives, analyse and report interim findings.
5. To develop a toolkit for practitioners.
6. To develop a set of scenarios to assess the potential role of an expanded community composting sector.
7. To prepare project outputs: Final Report, toolkit, academic papers.
8. Further dissemination and ‘mainstreaming’ of results to include briefings, conferences, industry press and relevant websites, journal articles.
Project Documents
• ANX - Annex : Annex 1 - Survey Report Community Composting Activity in the UK 2006   (419k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 2 - Evaluation Framework   (172k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 3 - Workshop findings   (5101k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 4 - Scenarios   (150k)
• OTH - Other : WR0211 Final Cover Note   (179k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2006

To: 2010

Cost: £210,547
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - The Open
Effective household waste prevention              
Environment and Health              
Environmental Impacts              
Environmental Protection              
Health Effects              
Social Dimension              
Systems for Resource Recovery              
Techniques & methodolgies for waste management              
Understand/enhance pro-environmental behaviour              
Understanding economic & political causal factors              
Understanding resource flows              
Waste collection and handling systems              
Waste Management              
Fields of Study
Waste Management