Composter Workshop

2021 BioCycle / BPI Virtual Workshop Report

The 2021 BioCycle / BPI Virtual Workshop sessions were a multi-stakeholder series of conversations with Composters & Haulers, Municipalities, Foodservice Operators & Brands, and Compostable Product & Material Manufacturers. The stated goals were:

  1. Identify and confirm the top barriers to the acceptance and successful processing of certified compostable products.
  2. Build consensus for a single set of acceptability criteria so that compostable products can be accepted and successfully processed by a broader set of composters processing food scraps.

Through pre-workshop surveys and interviews, agendas were set for two discussion sessions moderated by Nora Goldstein of BioCycle Magazine. The first session focused on the “Contamination” barrier, and the second session focused on the “Compostability Standards” barrier, or certified products not breaking down quickly enough in “real world” environments. A third barrier, “Organic Agriculture Rules”, was addressed during the first session but due to its nature as a policy issue, a full session was not dedicated to a group discussion of it.

Both sessions were guided by a “ballot” of proposed action items designed to address the barrier in question. At the end of each session, all participants provided Yes / NO indications of support or non-support for each action item. Participants were also given the opportunity to make new suggestions for action, as well as to provide open comments on the proposed actions. The complete results of these ballots can be found in Part II of this report.

Once these first two sessions were complete, BPI and BioCycle considered the full breadth of perspectives provided and translated them into a Roadmap and Action Plan. The Roadmap has three key components - barriers, future states, and projects. The barriers, of which three are listed above, are core issues preventing acceptance and successful processing of compostable products. The future states are statements of what success looks like on each barrier. The projects are discrete work products that will be managed by BPI, its Committees, and its Board of Directors. The Action Plan builds off the Roadmap, with scope of work statements for each project, connections to the ballots, timing, and designations of project lead.

Drafts of the Roadmap and Action Plan were shared with the workshop participants during a set of reporting sessions that preceded publication of this report. During those sessions, participants provided comments and feedback on the Roadmap and Action Plan that were incorporated into the final versions included here.

While the work described in the Roadmap and Action Plan represents the full range of the conversations had during the workshop sessions, it is by no means an exhaustive list of what will be required to get us to the ultimate goal of increased organics diversion by way of a single set of acceptability criteria for compostable products. It is, however, a complete expression of the challenges and opportunities in front of us today. BPI looks forward to collaborating with you and your organization as we continue this important work.

Please send us your feedback, comments, questions, and suggestions here.

Workshop Report