Welcome to my blog. I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts around how the PAS100 revision process is going....
At least 75% of compost produced goes to agriculture and it is important the PAS standard ensures that the definitions and tests are appropriate to ensure safe and sustainable use of compost in this major market. At one of the Review Panel workshop, a proposal was discussed for having two defined groups in PAS100. Group 1 being for agriculture and general use and Group 2 would be for growing media market and landscape use. We hope that the Steering Group approves the concept of 2 defined groups within the revised PAS which is in addition to the fit for purpose requirement.
A key message from farm assurance schemes is to eliminate as far as possible plastic contamination and there is pressure to further tighten the existing standard on physical contaminants. We keep hearing that composters are being asked to accept contracts that stipulate up to 10% contamination whether this be from Local Authorities or Commercial sources. I would urge everyone in the industry to refuse to sign such contracts. If I can paraphrase comments from LAs, if a contractor decides to sign a contract with that level of contamination they must be prepared to deal with the rubbish!!
The message we are being given from Local Authorities is that there should be a robust discussion on what is realistic. Personally I used to stipulate for plastic no more than equivalent of 10 small supermarket type carrier bags in a 40 yd bin. With a concerted effort from all stakeholders we can improve inputs and ensure outputs have negligible plastic within finished compost. This is critical to maintain market support.
The other key points that have been discussed and will be determined by the Steering Group are:
- A different E.coli test to bring it in line with PAS110, effectively this means splitting a sample into 5 sub-samples and a failure is if more than one sub-sample is over 5000CFU/g or if two or more sub-samples are over1000CFU/g.
- A proposal to slight change the stone size for Group 1.
- There is a strong driver from UKAS and assurance schemes to have some form of independent testing.
Outside of this review ORG are discussing a review of the plant growth test as many operators have experienced issues with this test.
I'll be back with another update soon.