Voluntary compost quality assurance based on the new Austrian compost decree

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Courtesy of ORBIT e.V.

The Austrian national waste management plan has to consider a total of 3.7 million MG of communal and commercial organic and other 28 million MG of organic by-products and residues from f. e. waste water treatment, the agricultural sector, wood processing, as well as mineral residues, can be used as co-feedstock or additives for bioprocessing. According to sustainable waste management strategies the organic matter from wastes has to be kept away from landfills. The EU 'Landfill Directive - draft version 99' requires a 25 % reduction of biodegradable organic matter to be accepted to be disposed of, compared to 1995, within 15 years. In Austria and Germany legislation requires that the organic contend in wastes to be landfilled has to be reduced below 5 % of TOC after 2004/2005.

About 2 Mio. tonnes are expected as a total quantity of organic from households and communities in Austria. Currently, besides of decentralised private and agricultural home-composting. 600.000 MG of separate collected organic from private and similar sources are currently treated at bioprocessing plants. One of the most preferable ways to use the organic will be, regarding the wastes composition, to convert organic matter into a soil amendment product (bio-fertiliser) suitable to be marketed or to recover energy (bio-fuel). Both has to be done in an environmental sound manner.

Organic processing can be divided into 'specific' and 'unspecific' types of treatment. The 'specific' type is mainly used to handle 'unmixed monolithic' types of waste, f. e. wastes from wood- and food processing which should be used as bio-fuel at combined heat- and power plants. Other specific technologies are the conversion of old kitchen fat and kitchen oil into bio-petrol, or the production of animal food considering the hygienisation demands. The most preferable type of 'unspecified' bio-treatment is composting, optionally in combination with an anaerobic pre-digestion, as well as back yard and open pile composting as a low-tech and low-cost solutions to produce soil conditioner and bio-fertilisers.

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