Thurston now requires use of compost for county projects


The Thurston County Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance requiring the purchase and use of compost material for county projects involving landscaping and construction during a meeting Tuesday, January 31.

Compost would also be used for green infrastructure and soil amendment projects which county would from its own compost programs and local compost producers that have been certified by organizations like the US Composting Council. 

If compost cannot be acquired locally, the county could purchase it from nearby suppliers outside the county.

The ordinance provides exemptions to the requirement of compost, such as when the cost of purchasing the material is 10% more than the cost of a similar product. The county is also not required to use compost when it cannot be procured within a reasonable period of time or when available compost products were not made in compliance with federal and state safety standards.

Education and oversight

The county is aiming to purchase at least half of the organic material it sends to its partnered compost processor, as encouraged by RCW 43.19A.130.

To monitor the county’s performance, the Department of Ecology would require the county to send a bi-annual report starting on December 31, 2024. The report will include data on the amount, cost, and sources of purchased compost, as well as the amount of organic material diverted from landfills as a result of the policy.

The county would also conduct educational campaigns to inform residents about how Thurston County is utilizing compost.


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