The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the early 1990’s launched an initiative to recycle domestic and industrial waste as compost for local farms. The Land Network was pioneering the use of recycled domestic and industrial waste as compost. This could have been a hugely popular and effective scheme, but due to the complex and weighty regulations, the uptake has been minimal. Instead of the projected 3,000 farms using the system, only 16 farms managed to get past the red tape and use the scheme last year. The point of the scheme was to use the 100 million tonnes of organic waste we produce each year to make compost for Britain’s farms. It was hoped that this would reduce the £1 billion a year spent on importing chemical fertilizers into the country. £1 billion adds up to a huge amount of chemical fertilizer, which in turn amounts to a massive amount of toxic chemicals introduced into the environment.
The scheme has many benefits. Local authorities can save the money that would be spent on dealing with the organic waste, the farmers save money because they do not have to pay out for fertilizers and the food grown with organic compost is more nutritionally beneficial. Reducing the use of chemical fertilizers helps the environment, because they leach toxic nitrates into the soil and pollute rivers and water supplies, and the transport of fertilizers across the world creates CO2 emissions. All in all this was a terrific idea that needs a little work to make it accessible to Britain’s farmers.