May 7 – 13, 2023
Thank you for your interest in International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) 2023
International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) is the largest and most comprehensive education initiative of the compost industry. It is celebrated nationwide and in other countries each year during the first full week of May. The goal of ICAW is to work together to raise public awareness on why we all should be composting our organics recycling and using compost. The program includes poster and video contests in the fall and activities and events held during the week in May. Throughout the week of ICAW, community, school, government and business events are held to encourage and celebrate composting - all types of composting – from backyard to large-scale.
Theme for ICAW 2023:
For Healthier Soil, Healthier Food…Compost!
Each year, for ICAW in the US a new theme is chosen. The theme is used for the Poster Contest, which encourages artists, age 14 and older, from throughout the world to create a design sharing the importance of composting and compost use. There is also a video contest for children in 4th – 8th grade (ages 10 - 13).
What Does this Theme Mean?
The 2023 International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) theme is truly a collaborative and international effort. This year, we teamed up with the International Compost Alliance (ICA) to select: For Healthier Soil, Healthier Food…Compost! The theme was chosen based on a serious world-wide issue that every nation, unfortunately, experiences: hunger.
One of the initiatives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), is Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. As part of the ICAW committee’s global discussion with our international partners around the world, we spoke the same language, and all wanted to promote a unified theme - aligning a topic important to each country while emphasizing our work with compost.
The chosen 2023 theme best reflects the goal of focusing on how compost can have a role in helping feed the world, by making our soil healthier which produces healthier food. How does compost help? By recycling organics into compost and using it on our farmlands we create healthy soils that produce healthier food and higher yields. It also reduces the need for fertilizer and pesticides, improves water quality and conserves water, as well as stores carbon in soil - helping to reduce climate change. Compost not only helps the environment but also helps to decrease food shortages experienced around the world. For Healthier Soil, Healthier Food…Compost!
How to get involved?
To learn more about how you can get involved with ICAW or plan an event in your community, click here to read the attachment Celebrate ICAW Manual. You can also look on the event page for more event ideas which is updated with plans across the country as we get closer to ICAW. You can also volunteer to help encourage or run ICAW events or activities in your state or community, click here to learn more about being an ICAW volunteer coordinator. Many companies strongly support ICAW each year by becoming an ICAW sponsor. If you would like to be an ICAW 2023 sponsor, contact Beth Simone, firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, browse the Compost Week menu for tools, resources and ideas to help YOU celebrate International Compost Awareness Week!
What Are the Benefits of Using Compost and Composting Food and Yard Waste?
Here are some key facts regarding organics recycling and compost use highlighting why ICAW is such an important awareness-building program:
- The use of landfill space and incineration can be reduced by at least one-third when organics are recycled. Focused attention on recycling organic residuals is key to achieving high-waste diversion rates.
- Methane, a greenhouse twenty-five times as powerful as carbon dioxide, can be significantly reduced through the recycling of organics instead of their being landfilled.
- Soil health and productivity is dependent on organic matter – the essence of compost -- to provide the sustenance for the biological diversity in the soil. Plants depend on this to convert materials into plant-available nutrients and to keep the soil well-aerated. Additional benefits include the reduced need for pesticide usage to ward off soil-borne and other plant diseases.
- Compost offers a significant answer to climate change mitigation. Compost’s return to the soil serves as a “carbon bank,” helping to store carbon thereby removing it from the atmosphere.
- Compost is a huge benefit for both water conservation and quality. When used in water quality projects, compost bind pollutants to the organics material and prevents them from entering our lakes, wetlands, streams and rivers. Soil erosion is mitigated, and water-holding capacity improved through compost’s enhancement of soil structure, binding soil particles together.