The US Composting Council (USCC), the organization representing the commercial composting industry, has applied to the U.S. Census Bureau for a NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code for “Compost Manufacturing.” The current classification under which composting falls is 325311 Nitrogenous Fertilizer Manufacturing. “[This] is not an accurate designation for Compost Manufacturing,” stated the USCC’s application submittal letter. “The existing code does not account for all the feedstocks used in the compost manufacturing process. It relates exclusively to the manufacturing of nitrogenous fertilizer materials and mixing ingredients into fertilizers.
“The other NAICS code 325314 Fertilizer (Mixing Only) Manufacturing designation is confusing. Mixing should not be coupled with the actual manufacturing of raw materials that are combined into fertilizer mixes. This designation code is not appropriate for Compost Manufacturing because compost is being categorized as a fertilizer and in most cases the product is not registered as one.”
Having a stand-alone industry code also leads to collection of specific industry economic data and statistics, notes Frank Franciosi, USCC’s Executive Director. “Agencies like the Census Bureau and other federal groups use NAICS codes to collect and analyze data on industries and publish statistics on those industries and their impact on the U.S. economy. The data will also help USCC with aggregated data to use in discussions and advocacy with state and federal legislators and regulators, as well as other industries and interested stakeholders who are following the growth of the compost industry.”
A specific stand-alone industry code is expected to help USCC members when they obtain insurance; when they look for federal and small business bid opportunities; and for members who sell to fellow members who are composters. “Some insurance companies base their workman’s compensation rates on the specific industry sector,” says Franciosi. “It also factors into zoning permits, bank loans and more. We are in a gray area now.” He adds that when Compost Manufacturing has its own code, composters, product marketers and others in the industry simply put that on any application that requests the code.
The application to the Census Bureau will be under review during 2020. USCC has outlined an Industry Economic Survey that is also taking place later this year, pending additional industry support.