May 5 – 11, 2024
Thank you for your interest in International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) 2024
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 and using compost to create healthier soil. 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, events are held all over the country and the world with community, school, government and business planning different activities to encourage and celebrate composting – all types of composting – from backyard to large–scale.
Theme for ICAW 2024:
COMPOST... Nature’s Climate Champion!
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 2024 International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) theme is truly a collaborative and international effort. Again this year, we teamed up with the International Compost Alliance (ICA), which includes compost associations from around the world, to select: COMPOST... Nature’s Climate Champion! The theme was chosen by participating international partners incorporating the collective focus on one of the initiatives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which is “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.”
The 2024 theme best reflects the UN goal by highlighting the role compost plays in fighting climate change. Those roles include:
- Decreasing methane: Methane, a greenhouse gas twenty-five times as powerful as carbon dioxide, can be significantly reduced through the recycling of organics instead of their being landfilled.
- Helping with climate change mitigation: 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.
- Reducing fertilizer inputs, reducing the pollution created to manufacture those inputs.
- Increasing resilience: Compost helps to increase resilience to the effects of climate change such as drought and extreme weather.
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 2024 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.