ICAW Press Release



Contact: European Compost Network ECN e.V.




  • International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) 2024, the largest and most comprehensive education initiative of the compost industry, takes place 5 – 11 May
  • ICAW 2024’s theme is COMPOST…Nature’s Climate Champion
  • Composting organic residuals and creating compost is a proven winning combination to tackle climate change, while also helping to keep soils healthy.  It also helps to make soil more resilient to drought, reduce the need for mineral fertilisers, support biodiversity and grow more nutrient-rich foods.

(April 29, 2024, Brussels), As the world grapples with the urgent need to combat climate change, International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) stands as a beacon of hope, celebrating compost and the importance of organics recycling. From 5th to 11th May, individuals, communities, and organisations worldwide will unite to raise awareness about the transformative power of compost and composting in mitigating climate change.

This year’s theme, COMPOST... Nature’s Climate Champion, highlights the very real fact that we can still fight climate change instead of accepting it as a given. Through organics recycling and the return of compost back to our soils, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced with additional benefits being delivered including improved soil health and biodiversity, increased agricultural productivity, enhanced food security and water quality.

"Compost is a powerful champion in our fight against climate change," remarked Stefanie Siebert, Executive Director of ECN. "It not only reduces methane emissions from landfills but also enriches soil, sequesters carbon and promotes greater biodiversity. Through International Compost Awareness Week, we aim to highlight the immense potential of composting and compost as nature-based solutions to combat climate change."

The organic matter in compost helps our soils absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the soil, where it can remain stored for years, decades, or even centuries. At the same time, compost helps create healthier soils that are more resilient to changing weather conditions, improving soil structure and water-holding capacity while also reducing erosion. Providing a slow-release source of nutrients to plants, with healthier soil, compost also helps reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

"As we confront the challenges of a rapidly changing climate, composting emerges as a tangible and accessible solution that empowers individuals and communities to take meaningful action," said Stefanie Siebert, Executive Director at ECN. "International Compost Awareness Week serves as a catalyst for change, inspiring collective action towards a more sustainable future.". We encourage everyone to participate in ICAW and learn more about how composting can benefit our communities and the environment."

To celebrate ICAW, communities and organizations around the world are hosting composting workshops, demonstrations, and many other types of events. Individuals can also get involved by starting their own composting system at home or in their community, getting to know the important workings at a local composting facility and by adding compost to their soil to improve their garden’s productivity and climate-resiliency.

If you are celebrating the ICAW with an event, please send us the information about it and we will post it on our ICAW website.




Notes to Editors


The International Compost Alliance is comprised of:

The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA);

The Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA);

Compost Council of Canada (CCC);

European Compost Network (ECN);

International Solid Waste Association (ISWA);

CRÉ - Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland;

WasteMINZ (Waste Management Institute of New Zealand);

The United States Composting Council (USCC); and

The Compost Research & Education Foundation (CREF)

The purpose of the alliance is for organics recycling organizations around the world to work collaboratively to maximise the recycling of organic wastes and advance the manufacturing of certified, high-quality compost to benefit the environment, society and our members.

Currently, over 83 million tonnes of biowaste are recycled every year around the world. Not only does this recycle over 1 million tonnes of plant macro-nutrients, but, through storing carbon in soil and offsetting fertilizer use, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents – an equivalent of driving an average car for 36 billion kilometers (23 billion miles); almost 95 thousand times the distance between the earth and the moon!

Despite our current success globally, our annual potential could be increased over 12-fold if all of the world’s unavoidable organic residuals were collected separately and composted.



According to data from the World Bank, 5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2016 (1.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent) were generated from solid waste treatment and disposal with food waste accounting for nearly 50% of overall emissions. Trends in Solid Waste Management (worldbank.org)  The recycling of unavoidable organic wastes could significantly help put the brakes on this significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Equally important are the climate stabilizing benefits realized when compost and organic matter are returned back to our soils. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 95% of our food is directly or indirectly produced on our soils with organic matter being fundamental to its overall health, soil structure, diversity and biological activity of soil organisms and plant nutrient availability.

While details vary amongst countries and continents on how they celebrate International Compost Awareness Week, the following facts and benefits about organics recycling and compost use transcend political and cultural boundaries:

  • Soil health and productivity are dependent on organic matter in the form of compost or humus to provide the sustenance for the biological diversity in the soil. Plants depend on this to convert materials into plant-available nutrients and to keep the soil well-aerated. Additional benefits include the reduced need for pesticide usage to ward off soil-borne and other plant diseases.
  • Compost offers a significant answer to climate change mitigation. Compost’s return to the soil serves as a “carbon bank,” helping to store carbon thereby removing it from the atmosphere.
  • Methane, a greenhouse gas twenty-five times as powerful as carbon dioxide, can be significantly reduced through the recycling of organics instead of their being landfilled.
  • The use of landfill space and incineration can be reduced by at least one-third when organics are recycled. Focused attention on recycling organic residuals is key to achieving high diversion rates.