Producing and selling compost

Composting legislation and standards


There are a number of environmental regulations that apply to business composting activities.

Composting waste and animal by-products

If you make or store compost from waste materials you must have a waste management licence or an exemption from a waste management licence from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) - see environmental permits and licences - an overview.

If your business handles animal by-products or catering waste you must meet the requirements of the Animal By-Products Regulations.

Composting and nuisance

If you carry out composting you must also be aware of your impact on the surrounding community. If your business causes odour or other nuisances, your district council's environmental health team could restrict your business' activities. If your business has a waste management licence or exemption, it may have conditions that relate to nuisance that must be fully complied with.

Transporting compost

You must be a registered waste carrier or exempt from registration if you:

  • transport waste you intend to compost
  • transport compost made from waste, unless the compost is classed as no longer being waste under the Quality Protocol

If you only transport waste produced by your own business for composting, you don't need to register as a waste carrier.

Quality standards for compost

The Quality Protocol for Compost (QPC) was developed by NIEA and WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) in consultation with key industry stakeholders such as the Association for Organics Recycling (AfOR). The protocol incorporates the PAS 100 specification for composted materials. If your business produces compost that meets the requirements of the QPC, you will not need to comply with waste controls, such as using a registered waste carrier to transport it.

Download the Compost Quality Protocol (PDF, 301K).