Purchasing information:iStock 1090153534 400px

  • Compost can be used for landscaping, erosion control, turf grass establishment and as a soil amendment and slow release fertilizer.
  • The benefits of using compost include water retention, weed suppression, and improved conditions for the overall and long-term health of the soil, as well as the plants, grasses and trees that grow within that soil.
  • Recovered materials from which compost is made include food waste, yard waste, manure and biosolids.
  • Without good specifications, compost could have adverse effects such as weed seed germination, nitrogen depletion, leaching of pollutants, odor problems, or unaesthetic appearance. -The US Composting Council has developed industry standards and provides guidance on how to select quality compost for other specific applications.

Key specifications:

  • Compost shall be derived from biodegradable, organic materials processed in a controlled, biological method of decomposition in compliance with state and federal regulations.
  • Compost shall be produced in a permitted composting facility that adheres to their permit requirements.
  • Compost containing biosolids shall comply with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 40 CFR, Part 503c regulations.
  • The compost shall contain no substances harmful to plants and shall be reasonably free (<1% by dry weight) of man-made foreign matter. The compost will possess no objectionable odors and shall not resemble the raw material from which it was derived.
  • The attributes of the compost shall fall within the parameters developed by the US Composting Council, Landscape Architecture/Design Specifications for Compost Use.

Other considerations:

  • Consider requiring compost to be certified by the US Composting Council Seal of Testing and Approval (STA) program, if enough of your local compost producers can meet this requirement for a competitive bid.
  • Consider your preferred particle size or size of screen that the material falls through.
  • Suppliers shall provide recommended application rates for end uses.
  • More specific NC DOT specifications for the use of compost along NC roads and highways can be found here:

Resources for additional information:

Hydraulic Mulch

Purchasing information:

  • Hydraulic mulch is often made from recovered paper and wood. It can be used for erosion control, slope revegetation, sports turf establishment/conditioning, post fire reclamation and mine reclamation. Through hydroseeding, a mixture of water, seeds and hydraulic mulch is sprayed over bare soil to promote the growth of vegetation.
  • The inclusion of seed, fertilizer and soil stabilizing products in hydroseeding should be tailored to the specific application.
  • Without good specifications, hydro seeding mixes could have adverse effects such as weed seed germination, nitrogen depletion, leaching of pollutants, odor problems, or unaesthetic appearance.

Key specifications:

  • Hydraulic mulch shall be composed entirely (100%) of recycled cellulose and/or wood fiber products.
  • Proportions of the hydroseeding mixture shall be homogenous and capable of being sprayed to form a porous mat.

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This toolkit was developed with support from the EPA Sustainable Materials Management Program.

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