A new initiative making it easier for businesses and industry to produce more compost and reduce the amount of organic waste sent to landfill was launched today by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) and the Environment Agency.

Martin Brocklehurst, Head of Environmental Protection External Programmes for the Environment Agency, said: "Under the Quality Protocol for Compost, producers will be able to create compost which is no longer classed as a waste, making it a more marketable product to those who buy it, as it allows them to spread compost on to land without the need to register with the Environment Agency for a waste exemption.

"This will boost the UK composting market by making it easier for businesses to market their compost as a desirable quality product to key markets such as landscaping, agriculture and horticulture. These markets can also be confident that the compost they are buying will be of a high environmental standard.

"The Protocol also demonstrates the benefits of working in collaboration with trade bodies, business and industry to develop solutions that meets the needs of the markets whilst also protecting the environment. It is a good example of the Environment Agency and WRAP easing regulation and creating new business opportunities."

The Quality Protocol, which will apply in England and Wales, has been developed with key players in the composting industry, including The Composting Association (TCA) and the Environmental Services Association (ESA). It sets out the criteria for the production of quality compost from different types of source segregated biowaste like food and garden plant waste.