CREF Research

Underway now…Look for this paper in 2024
Review and Analysis of Compost Used in Stormwater Bioretention Systems
Thanks to many generous donors, CREF has recently started a new research project which is a Review and Analysis of Compost Used in Stormwater Bioretention Systems. This project was chosen because for over 20 years, regulators have acknowledged benefits but also have had concerns with nutrients leaching from compost when used in green infrastructure projects, notably bioretention. This is a significant barrier to compost use by states, counties, and cities. A review of the current research literature will identify what has been accomplished, specific gaps, and ultimately research needs to accurately answer this important question before composts can be widely used in this growing market. It is critical for manufacturers, specifiers, end users, and regulators to understand, so a high quality compost product can be made, and users can understand what performs well,ensuring they specify and receive a product best suited for the application. This will increase bioretention performance and confidence from specifiers and end-users, minimize pollution potential, and ultimately increase acceptance and use of compost in this critical green infrastructure stormwater best management practice(BMP).

Soluble Salts in Compost and Their Effects on Soil
The goal of this paper was to explore the know knowledge regarding the speciation of the specific salt measured by the EC test.  The paper has recently been published in Compost Science & Utilization (CS&U).  Published by Taylor & Francis, CS&U is abstracted in the prestigious Science Citation Index with an impact factor of 0.969.  Publication of such work in an internationally recognized peer-reviewed research journal gives the work an extra level of recognition in the scientific community and reinforces CREF’s commitment to understanding and communicating the science involved in composting.

Learn more about this project HERE.
The full paper is available open access, for Free, HERE.

Analysis of Compost Air Emissions Measurement Methods
This literature review is evaluating current air quality testing methods to determine their effectiveness and identify possible changes or alternatives to current testing methods that are more cost-effective and will provide suitably accurate data regarding the emissions at a compost facility. This review is currently out for peer review. Once the review is completed, it will be available here.

Learn more about this project HERE.
Before the peer-review paper is available, here is a shorter version you can read on this subject.

Compost Use Applications - A Return on Investment (ROI)
While organic diversion has increased, market demand for compost has not kept pace; Many compost facilities have growing stockpiles. One reason for this is that it has been difficult to educate the market on the economic benefits of applying compost. The CREF has researched current literature and studies documenting ROI and created individual reports that provide instructions and explain the ROI for very specific compost applications. Learn more about this project and download the free datasheets HERE

Compostable Plastics Literature Review
Recently, the US Composting Council worked with Nora Goldstein and Craig Coker, with BioCycle Associates, to create the Compostable Products Primer exploring the evolving role of compostable products the marketplace over the past 30 years. It looks at the relationship industrial composting facilities have with the compostable products market and the acceptance of these products at compost facilities. Through the research done for this primer, a compostable plastics literature review was conducted, which CREF is making available. Learn more about the literature review HERE.

Field Sampling of Compost Materials – Watch the sampling videos here!
The Compost Sampling Video Project developed a two-part video series designed to educate composters on how to effectively and accurately take samples from both finished compost or an active heterogeneous stockpile or windrow. A Sampling Reference Guide is being written as an additional educational tool. Sampling Video Page

Compostable Field Testing Program
The CREF and partners have created a ready-to-go field test for certified compostable food packaging. This open source standardized field test will provide baseline data on composting conditions that impact disintegration of compostable products and packaging. This will allow the CREF to develop tools for composters wanting to understand best practices for processing these feedstocks. Field Testing Page

Learn more about past CREF research projects

The CREF Board of Trustees are always open to new suggestions for research projects to be considered and possibly funded. If you have a project you would like the board to consider, please submit it here:

For each project listed here and for any future projects, CREF must raise the funds needed to financially support each and every project. Please donate today to the Foundation so that we may add to this research list and continue with the important work of making more scientific research on compost available.



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Compost Research and Education Foundation (CREF)
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