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"Using and Marketing Compost: Strategies and Trends". Josef Barth, ECN and INFORMA, Germany. "Compost Marketing is Based on Local Confidence". How to create confidence of customers: Competent staff and adviser (with green thumb) Brown nose marketing (customers must smell compost)

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Using and marketing compost strategies and trends

"Using and Marketing Compost: Strategies and Trends"

Josef Barth, ECN and INFORMA, Germany

Compost marketing is based on local confidence
"Compost Marketing is Based on Local Confidence"

How to create confidence of customers:

  • Competent staff and adviser (with green thumb)

  • Brown nose marketing (customers must smell compost)

  • Standardised and quality assured products

  • Based on clean products from separate collection

  • Trustworthy recommendations for compost use

  • Marketing like the peat and bark industry

Expectations of compost users
Expectations of Compost Users

94 % of the commercialcompost userswant to have:

A uniform, high quality product that is independently monitored and accompanied by product use specifications

=> Quality assurance for compost production

Quality assurance and labels for compost and digestion residues
Quality Assurance and Labels for Compost and Digestion Residues


QAS Monitoring in total:

620 plants with capacity of9 million tons composting and 2 million tons digestion

Quality assurance and marketing
Quality Assurance and Marketing

  • = compost with defined product properties is marketable on a large scale

Eu market shares of compost sales and market size

EU Market Shares of compost Sales and Market size

Good EU Average

Main markets no 1 agriculture
Main Markets:No. 1: Agriculture

  • Standard qualities, often fresh compost (D) or digestion residuals (D/SWE)

  • No compost = official recommendation

  • Individual farmers can be convinced

Signs of a future approach
Signs of a Future Approach?

Value of compost for soil quality and fertility increases

in agriculture – here example of Italy :

  • Region Emilia Romagna pays 220 A$/ha to use compost and promote a build-up of carbon in depleted soils

  • Region Piemonte pays 290 A$ € /ha to use up to 25 tonnes dry matter/ha in depleted soils over a 5 years’ time frame on arable land

Main markets no 2 landscaping
Main Markets:No. 2: Landscaping

  • High quality product for e.g. potting soils, growing media

  • Product development is necessary in accordance with end-user requirements

  • Solutions are required, not only compost

  • Strong competition with peat and bark based products

Main markets no 3 private gardens
Main Markets:No. 3: Private Gardens

  • Standard qualities and specialproducts

  • Large target group (= the Public)

  • Important for compost image

  • Expensive public relation

  • Expensive packaging and distribution

  • BUT! Compost is supplied to raw material suppliers

Main markets no 3 private hobby gardens
Main Markets:No. 3: Private / Hobby Gardens

Examples for cost reductionin sales to private customers

No work – no money - no dirt

Self service with multiway bin

Main markets no 4 reclamation outlet
Main Markets: No. 4: Reclamation outlet

  • Till now:

  • very big outlet for compost

  • for lower qualities too (landfill covers)

  • But for the future as a reaction of

    the "compost landfilling":

  • => compost according to the needs = poor soils (limitation of K an P nutrients)

Eu quality ranges and sales prices for compost

Quality composts


30 – 70 A$

Sports turf25 – 70 A$

Landscaping25 - 40 A$

Nurseries25 - 60 A$

Top soil mix15 - 25 A$

Hobbygardens7 - 30 A$

Org. farms3 - 10 A$

Wine + fruit3 - 6 A$

Landfill cover0 - 6 A$

Agriculture?0 - 6 A$

Additional specifications

EU Quality Ranges and Sales Prices for Compost

Standard qualities

Two marketing trends for compost
Two Marketing Trendsfor Compost


Little or no marketing for high volume markets that require only standard product quality, such as agriculture

► Organic waste treatment plant

Specialised marketing for high quality compost products supplied to high value markets e.g. growing media

- large range of value added products- specialised, tailor-made mixtures

► Humus and soil production plant

► SMS points (Saturday Morning Service)

Large range of compost products
Large Range of Compost Products

Provide a large range of different compost / bark products

Bagged for residents Bulk for commercial clients

Sms s aturday morning s ervice
SMS = Saturday Morning Service

SMS at sites provides everything what gardeners need on a Saturday morning e.g. compost, bark, sand, stones, gravel

Bulk supply

Drop-off area for garden organics

Compost super market

Recommandations and specifications for use
Recommandations and Specifications for Use

Basic tool to develop compost markets if properly done. In co-operation with end-user organisations!

Marketing with posters
Marketingwith posters

Blühende Kaffeefilter

Blooming Coffee Filters

Our soil

Tasty Green Cuttings

creates benefit

Space forlogo & address

Our soil

creates benefit

Marketing advertisement
Marketing: Advertisement

The more healthy the soil, the better the harvest

T h e P o w e r o f C o m p o s t

Combined advertisement by several producers/plants

Professional marketing competitive to peat bark industry
Professional Marketing - Competitive to Peat/Bark Industry

FLORATOP compost products presentation in a supermarket chain. Return of up to 70 Euro/cbm!!!!

Marketing lessons learnt
Marketing lessons learnt

► Marketing must be competitive with peat/bark

It should comprise:

  • Market research and analysis of the regional market

  • Establishment of a market profile, regionally modified

  • Development of various product types and qualities

  • Sales activities and sales promotion

  • Information and advice regarding product use

  • Public relations work to raise awareness and image

    ► This can't be supplied by each individual plantSupport and co-operation is required!

Producers co operative vkn
Producers Co-operative VKN

3 Bio- + 6 Green waste plants - 100 x 150 km area 40.000 t of compost - 70 % to agriculture, 20 % for landscaping, 10 % for residential gardens

  • Advantages of Central VKN Office

  • 1. Cost savings by bundling of activities for

    • - Application advice

    • - Acquisition of customers

    • - Purchase and sales

    • - Production control

    • - Authority contracts

  • 2. Uniformity of products and prices

  • 3. Common PR and advertisement

Transport distances up to 50 km

Conclusions of european experiences
Conclusions of European Experiences

  • Compost can be marketed on a large scale, if

  • end-user needs are met,

  • adequate quality assurance is provided

  • local or regional marketing aspects are utilised,

  • similar product development and marketing efforts are undertaken as is the case in the peat and bark industry

  • and co-operations are realised.

It is never too early to start with compost marketing
It is never too early tostart with compost marketing

Thank you!