Supporting scientific research is a core focus of the CREF mission.  Here are some of the most current research projects and upcoming future project areas from the Foundation:

Soluble Salts
The CREF is in the process of completing the scientific review of the Soluble Salt Paper it has commissioned. Once the scientific review is completed it will be published here.

Field Sampling of Compost Materials
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

Compostables 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

Air Emissions
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 underway with a target completion in the spring 2019.

Awarded Two Young Investigator Scholarships to college students to encourage compost research.  Research scholarships are given out annually.

  • Donald De Alwis was awarded a scholarship for his project focused on the use of locally sourced compost to facilitate hydric soil conditions in wetland restoration.
  • Sally Landefeld’s research project aims to characterize the relationship between soil health and plant health: Does healthier soil grow healthier food?  Young Investigator Page

Other research projects being considered for 2019:

  1. Carbon storage in soils using compost: Collection and review of current research application rates based on soil types marketability ecosystem services credits of compost;
  2. Compost Use Green Infrastructure: Review of current research to summarize the concentration of nutrient leaching (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and trace metals) of compost in engineered soils;
  3. Review the current research on compost's water-holding capacity and its role in water conservation;
  4. Chemical Contaminant Testing Protocol: Summarize current remediation practices and develop testing protocols for pesticides/herbicides/contaminates in feedstocks & finished composts;
  5. Disease Suppression in Compost: Review current research and develop a background paper on the capacity of compost to suppress disease, including pathogen specific modes of action.

Go here to find a list of other research projects CREF has done over the years.

If you have a research project you would like CREF to consider,
please contact the Foundation at

Thank you to all the companies and individuals who donated to our match challenge at Compost2018 to help us grow our research projects.  Look soon for updates on new research all the generous donations we received are funding.

A1 Organics
Atlas Organics
Barnes Nursery
Bartlett Ventures
Charles T. Creech, Inc.
Christiansen Farms
Compost Manufacturing Alliance
Covnell Waste Management Institute
Dabry Marketing
Dirt Hugger
Ecosafe Zero Waste
Engel & Gray
Engineered Compost System

Erth Product
Food FWD
GA Recycling Coalition
Ginny Black
Green Earth Tech
Growing a Greener World
Hansens Environmental
Harvest Quest/Life Soils
Kellie Kish
Kellogg Gardens
Laurel Valley Soils
Let Us Compost
LHF Compost Inc

Living Earth
Lorrie Loder-Rossiter
McGill Environmental Systems
Olympic Organics
R. Alexander Associates
Rexius Forest
Scotts Miracle-Gro
Spurt Industries
St. Louis Composting
WeCare Denali

© 2020 Compost Research & Education Foundation. All rights reserved.

Compost Research and Education Foundation (CREF)
Physical Address:
1053 E Whitaker Mill Rd
Suite 115
Raleigh, NC 27604

Mailing Address:
PO Box 19246
Raleigh, NC 27619
tel: 301-897-2715