Where garden waste goes

Household composting bins are collected by your local waste collection authority and transported to one of 4 composting facilities.

Council Composting facility
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils Material Change, Creeting St Mary
East Suffolk Council Biogen Composting Facilities at Parham or Lackford
Ipswich Borough Council Material Change, Creeting St Mary
West Suffolk Council FCC Composting Facility, Red Lodge

Windrow composting

Windrow composting is used to process garden waste only and is not able to deal with food waste. This is because if food waste is included, it needs to go through an in-vessel composting process (explained below).

Creeting St Mary, Lackford and Red Lodge composting facilities operate 'windrow' composting systems. These composting facilities deal with kerbside collected garden waste from Local Authorities, material deposited at Suffolk Recycling Centres and green waste from local landscapers. 

Garden waste only is delivered to the site and following inspection and removal of contaminants is shredded and placed into long rows (windrows) to compost. After stabilisation, the compost is screened to around 28mm to make a variety of compost products. Oversize material is then put through the process again. Both sites produce compost to the British Standard PAS: 100 which means the material is checked through quality control and lab testing throughout the process to ensure it is suitable for horticulture. To reach this standard the material needs to mature for a total period of not less than 6 weeks.

Finished compost is used locally in either larger scale agriculture or bagged up at Material Change for sale to the public at all 11 Suffolk Recycling Centres.

In-vessel composting

In-vessel composting is used to process garden waste mixed with food waste or complete food waste loads. The process heats the waste to a higher temperature than windrow composting to safely deal with any pathogens in the food waste. 

Parham composting facility operate in-vessel composting systems. The material is screened for contaminants, shredded to a uniform size, and loaded into an enclosed vessel for composting. The enclosed vessel allows this system to accept food waste because the oxygen level, moisture and temperature can be carefully monitored and controlled to ensure the temperature reaches 60-70ºC needed to kill pathogens and weed seeds and meet the regulations for processing food waste. 

The material is first composted for 1 to 3 weeks, before it is transferred to a second ‘vessel’, to ensure that all parts of the composting pile reach the required temperature. Once the sanitisation process is complete the compost is left to mature in an open windrow or an enclosed area for 10-14 weeks.

Finished compost from these processes is mainly used locally in large scale agriculture.