JANUARY 2012

Composting Council: an ongoing commitment to safety at compost facilities

Recently two young men died in a tragic accident at Community Recycling & Resource Recovery Inc.’s composting facility near Bakersfield, California. US Composting Council (USCC) president Frank Franciosi stated, “We are deeply saddened by this event, and the USCC is working with our membership to insure that incidents of this nature are prevented in the future. I know I speak for all of us in the composting industry in extending our sincere condolences to the families.

For a free Practical Safety Manual for the Composting and Mulching Industry, click here.

“Safety must always be a priority in compost manufacturing,” said Franciosi, “and the USCC is committed to learning as much as possible about the conditions that led to these events so that similar occurrences can be prevented in the future. The industry has an exemplary safety record and should be held as a good example providing safe and environmentally beneficial services for communities across the country.

“Nonetheless, a tragic accident has occurred. An investigation is underway led by OSHA and other officials and government entities to understand the cause of this accident. The USCC is prepared to assist in any way,” Franciosi added.

The USCC provides training on worker safety every year at its annual conference by nationally recognized experts and safety training is part of the Compost Operations Training Course.

“Safety is of primary concern to us,” stated Michael Virga the executive director of the USCC. “We are committed to the safety of our members’ employees and the welfare of the communities in which they operate.”

Organic materials of all types are increasingly collected for composting so that valuable nutrients and organic matter can be returned to replenish the soil. Healthy soil, carbon and nutrient recycling, and the efficient use of bio-energy, are core features of sustainability and the compost manufacturing industry is at the heart of these efforts.

Composting recycles organic materials, producing soil amendments, natural fertilizers and mulches, leading to richer soils and reduced pollution. This avoids the negative environmental and economic consequences associated with adding this material to landfills. “Unfortunately,” stated Virga, “some in the municipal solid waste industry have taken this tragic event in California and used it as a means to self-promote their interests by arguing in favor of sending more organics to landfills.”