Wales to host important anaerobic digestate trials focusing on landscape regeneration

1st April 2010

Wales will host a number of pioneering trials designed by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) to investigate the commercial potential for using BSI PAS 100 compost and anaerobic digestate in new landscape and brownfield regeneration projects.

Aimed at developing end market use in the regeneration of quarries, open cast mines and landfill sites, the new trials will provide evidence to local authorities that the diversion of organic waste from landfill carries environmental and economic benefits. It is also the first time that anaerobic digestate, a by-product of the anaerobic digestion (AD) process, will be trialled by WRAP as a biofertiliser.

Due to start in March 2010, the trials are supported by WRAP and conducted by a number of partnership organisations, including David Jarvis Associates, Wardell Armstrong and the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Both green compost (produced from garden wastes such as grass cuttings, prunings and leaves) and food-derived compost (processed household kitchen waste) produced to the BSI PAS 100 specification and WRAP’s Quality Protocol will be tested, as well as anaerobic digestate.

In one trial to be conducted by David Jarvis Associates and Professor Geoffrey Walton at Ffos-y-fran open cast coal mine near Merthyr Tydfil, anaerobic digestate will be used to help boost the redevelopment of native grassland and improve soil fertility.

Managing Director, David Jarvis, explains:

“In common with quality compost, anaerobic digestate is a rich source of nitrogen and phosphorous, making it potentially ideal for use as an organic fertiliser. At Ffos-y-fran, we’re expecting the application of the material to lead to accelerated plant growth and improved soil conditions. This could be of enormous significance for a number of industries, including mineral extraction where many quarries and mines have serious shortfalls of restoration materials.”

Another trial at the National Botanic Garden of Wales will involve the use of BSI PAS 100 compost in ‘compost socks’ – semi-permeable membranes filled with compost – which will be placed alongside a rapidly eroding riverbank to stabilise and vegetate the slopes. This trial is expected to provide evidence that the technique, already widely used in the USA, can reduce landslide and erosion alongside fast flowing waterways.

Lance Jones, Organics Project Manager at WRAP Cymru, said: “We’re delighted to see the projects in Wales at the forefront of developing end markets for recycled organic material. The new trials will provide evidence to industrial end-users that the use of quality compost and digestate for restoration purposes not only closes the organics recycling loop, but is a practical and cost-effective solution too.”

The trials are expected to report back during 2010 and 2011.

  • WRAP helps individuals, businesses and local authorities to reduce waste and recycle more, making better use of resources and helping to tackle climate change.
  • Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Working in seven key areas (Construction, Retail, Manufacturing, Organics, Business Growth, Behavioural Change, and Local Authority Support), WRAP’s work focuses on market development and support to drive forward recycling and materials resource efficiency within these sectors, as well as wider communications and awareness activities including the multi-media national Recycle Now campaign for England.
  • More information on all of WRAP's programmes can be found on