The Foundation’s vision is to advance composting technologies, practices, and beneficial uses that support resource conservation and economic and environmental sustainability.


The Compost Research and Education Foundation supports initiatives that enhance the stature and practices of the composting industry by supporting scientific research, increasing awareness, and educating practitioners and the public to advance environmentally and economically sustainable organics recycling.


CREF was incorporated on June 9, 1992 in the Commonwealth of Virginia as a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) EIN#54-1627814. CREF is affiliated with the United States Composting Council (USCC) but is its own entity and financials and funding are separate.

What We Do

  • Increase awareness and educate the public through supporting public outreach and targeted activities including updating and creating compost resources and publications as well as developing local and national campaigns to raise public knowledge of composting and its importance to long-term sustainability.
  • Foster scientific research opportunities. The Foundation’s reputation for credibility and scientific rigor has led to the development of sound composting principles, processes, product end uses and analytical standards.
  • Advance the stature and practice of the composting industry by offering professional development opportunities and disseminating best practices throughout the industry.

CREF’s Projects and Programs

Some of the programs the Foundation has developed over the years include the Test Methods for Evaluating Compost and Composting to accurately test the compost produced to assure that high quality compost is being produced and sold and the Foundation also developed the first comprehensive Operator training manual that is the basis for the current training program. Other publications produced focus on field guides for the use of compost, brochures on the benefits of using compost and a manual on composting in the backyard.

Current programs:

  • The Compost Operations Training Course (COTC) is for anyone who wants to learn about the art and science of commercial scale compost production and marketing.
  • The International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) is a fun and educational way to promote compost use and organics recycling. ICAW is held the first full week of May every year.
  • Compost Research Scholarships are for college students interested in academic compost research and to encourage more young professionals to enter the industry.
  • Research Projects – the Foundation funds focused compost research on specific industry topics.
  • Publications – the most recent publication is The Compost & Climate Connection, a companion piece to The Soil & Water Connection.
  • The Compostables Field Testing program is a ready-to-go field test for certified compostable food packaging.
  • Sampling Videos and Reference Guide, which demonstrate the steps that should be taken in order to send compost samples to a lab for analysis.
  • The Compostable Plastics Toolkit and the Curb 2 Compost Toolkit

© 2024 Compost Research & Education Foundation. All rights reserved.

Compost Research and Education Foundation (CREF)
Physical Address:
1053 E Whitaker Mill Rd
Suite 115
Raleigh, NC 27604

Mailing Address:
PO Box 19246
Raleigh, NC 27619
tel: (833) 812-2733