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Your guide to safe, sustainable compost

Compost is one of the most versatile and sustainable beneficial products created through the recycling of approved organic waste streams. If these waste streams aren’t recycled, they go to landfill with guaranteed negative results for the environment and society in the long term. Compost helps to address challenges such as climate change, erosion control, waterway catchment health and depleted soil. When it’s based on recycled, organic waste streams, it’s proven to enable:

  • Improved soil structure, depth and nutrient levels
  • Improved water infiltration and moisture retention
  • Improved root and plant growth, and disease suppression
  • Reduced need for fertilisers and pesticides
For more information, visit these resources:
AORA compost for soils
ICAW compost week

How compost is made
Compost is organic matter that has been through a controlled process of natural aerobic decomposition. In Australia, much of the organic matter used to manufacture compost includes green, food, biosolid and other organic waste feedstocks. There is also a concerning movement promoting virgin compost, which is compost made from specially grown, non-recycled inputs, offering dramatically lower nutrient values.

At NuGrow, we accept more than 30 different waste streams. We employ the most rigorous testing regime in Queensland to ensure we only recycle appropriate waste streams and that all products we manufacture are compliant with state and national guidelines.

Compost is similar to any manufactured product in that quality varies from supplier to supplier. The main two contributing factors that dictate the quality of compost are the type/composition of inputs and the composting methodology followed (eg oxygen control, moisture control, temperature control). After receiving compost feedstocks, a quality recycling process can take up to three months.
NuGrow waste recycling
NuGrow waste recycling process
Checklist for companies (eg civil contractors) and retailers (eg landscape suppliers)
Compost gained much media attention and other scrutiny in 2018. In many respects, this is beneficial. We too are all about healthier environments and healthier communities. However, in some cases, this is resulting in concerning misinformation that is leading to negative decisions – environmentally, socially and economically. For example, the National Environmental Management Plan (NEMP) is Australia’s nationally consistent approach to the environmental regulation of PFAS and allows minor levels of PFAS for finished products leaving a compost manufacturing facility as being safe for the community. If you’re being told you should pursue zero PFAS compost, you’re being misinformed. We’ve put together this checklist to assist you in making informed decisions when you’re purchasing/procuring compost or compost-related services.

NuGrow also supports our civil contractors and landscape suppliers in knowing what test results to request from their independent testing laboratory, based on our own state-leading test regime. We provide this advice, but are removed from the testing process to ensure the integrity of results. Please get in touch with our team if we can assist.
For safe and sustainable compost, check that it:
  • Is made from recycled inputs, not virgin material
  • Complies with AS4454 with a recent independent test certificate available
  • Meets PFAS levels set by the NEMP
  • Can be supported by evidence of robust QA processes and systems by the manufacturer to ensure product quality
  • Comes with batch-specific test results for chemical and physical parameters (eg heavy metals, total petroleum hydrocarbons, biological parameters, exchangeable sodium percentage).