The U.S. Composting Council Seal of Testing Assurance Program
The US Composting Council, formed in 1990, is a national, non-profit trade and professional organization promoting the recycling of organic materials through composting. It’s the only national organization committed to the advancement of the composting industry.
Prior to 2000 there were no uniform, nationally accepted tests or laboratory analyzes for compost. Different labs performed different tests in different parts of the US. Everyone had a different answer to the question “What is compost?”. A consensus building process that involved compost research scientists and compost experts from across the US was formed to uniformly answer this question. The USCC Seal of Testing Assurance Program was an outgrowth of this process. The STA program involves compost testing, labeling, and information disclosure designed to give the public the information needed to maximize the benefits of using compost. Compost producers who participate in the STA program test and label their product just like any other mainstream horticultural product on the market. The goal of this program is to increase consumer confidence when using compost and increase the ultimate success of compost use in the field. The US Composting Council Seal of Testing Assurance (STA) creates a standard across the composting industry. All compost producers who participate in the program must test their products using the same test methods to measure the same properties so that the user can easily compare one product to another.
Some of the majors elements of the STA program involve:
- Regular sampling and testing of compost products.
- Specific required lab tests that assure the protection of the environment and public health and safety.
- Requiring lab analysis to be completed in labs certified to participate in this program.
- Requiring compost producers to provide lab analysis at a prescribed frequency to the USCC.
- Making test results available to any person who requests them. These results must include directions for product use, a list of product ingredients and test results from a certified STA lab.
- Certification that participating composting facilities are in compliance with all applicable local, state and federal regulations.
As participants of this program, the City of Los Angeles prepares a quarterly lab analysis of our STA registered compost products, Griffith Park compost (TOPGRO®) and our horse manure compost at the Lopez Canyon Environmental Center, using only STA certified laboratories.
Our compost is tested for various compost properties (such as pH, nitrogen) as well as bacterial and metal contaminants. Based on these test results, we’ve developed Compost User Guidelines to help you make best use of our compost.
Laboratory Test Results
Copies of the most current quarterly lab STA data sheets can be obtained here:
Compost User Guidelines
Instructions on the recommended use of the STA compost products produced by the City can be obtained from the following pages respectively: