March 17, 2022 | Business+Finance, Composting, Markets, Policies + Regulations

New Industry Classification For Compost Manufacturing

Top: Rexius composting site, Eugene, OR. Photos by Doug Pinkerton

Historically, compost manufacturing has been classified under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) as Nitrogenous Fertilizer Manufacturing. Another NAICS code that has been used is Fertilizer (Mixing Only) Manufacturing, which is separate from the actual manufacturing of raw materials that are combined into fertilizer mixes. Attempts have been made over the past decade to create a stand-alone code for compost manufacturing, which is critical to gathering specific industry economic data and statistics. The U.S. Census Bureau oversees the NAICS systems; every three years, it issues a call for public comment and revisions in the Federal Register. The Economic Classification Policy Committee (ECPC), part of the U.S. Census Bureau, reviews requests for a stand-alone code.

“In April 2021, the US Composting Council (USCC) requested the ECPC to alter the classification definitions to include Compost Manufacturing as a new and distinct stand-alone code under Manufacturing,” explains Frank Franciosi, USCC’s executive director. “We proposed that multiple North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) codes be linked to capture all products and services that the industry provides. Then, in August 2021, the USCC submitted a letter to the ECPC during the comment period to request that Compost Manufacturing be moved to the All Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing category. We included a detailed description of the compost manufacturing process and the process of synthetic chemical fertilizer manufacturing, pointing out that nowhere in the process are chemicals used to make compost. The USDA and the Department of Commerce also requested that the ECPC create a new category titled Bio-Manufactured Products for products that are manufactured in their bio-based program, which would be a better and more suitable category for Compost Manufacturing.”

Rexius bagged compost product, Eugene, OR.

Both of these requests were denied by the committee, thus there was no change in the category. (Official notice was in the 12/21/21 Federal Register.) But not all was doom and gloom. On March 14, the USCC announced that compost manufacturing now has its own separate title code: 325315. “The good news is we now have our own separate title code, which means the Census Bureau will now track our economic data separately,” says Franciosi. “The bad news is we are still in the category of Chemical Manufacturing.”

To better understand the process to create a stand-alone NAICS code for the composting industry, see a three-part series that BioCycle published in the early 2010s. The series explained what a stand-alone industry code is, how to classify the composting industry within the NAICS code structure, and necessary actions to create a stand-alone industry code.


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