Compost Technical Data Sheets
Compost Technical Data Sheets

Understanding Compost Technical Data Sheets

Since growing conditions and plant requirements vary, compost users can benefit from information that accurately characterizes the compost products they use. This data can help you to improve the way you use compost to best meet your particular needs and to fit your specific situation. Fortunately, all STA Certified Compost products come with Compost Technical Data Sheet (CTDS) upon request, which includes a variety of measures of that compost. This provides transparency about the quality and composition of the compost and the uses for which it is most suited.
Read on to better understand what is contained in a Compost Technical Data Sheet and how to interpret it:

Standard Compost Technical Data Sheet

Click the link below to check out the standard CTDS Data Sheet in the STA Certified Compost program, so you know what to look for in the future.  Every compost manufacturer in the STA Certified Compost program has test results from the past 1-3 months.

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DOT Compost Technical Data Sheet

DOT’s in each state have a customized format for their CTDS Data Sheet in the STA Certified Compost program.  Here are some examples.  Beside each test result you’ll see the boundaries of what that state DOT will accept for each value.

California North Carolina Oregon Texas Washington

Test Characteristics and their Importance

As part of the STA certification process, each batch of compost is tested on a number of different characteristics including pH, plant nutrients, maturity and others. Those test results are reported in each Compost Technical Data Sheet for the benefit of the end user. Click the link below to get an explanation of each characteristic and how to interpret them.

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STA Certified Compost Ingredients (Feedstocks)

The materials that go into making compost (e.g. leaves, food byproducts, etc) are known as “feedstocks”. Click on the link below for general descriptions of feedstocks that could be used to create compost. Disclosing the feedstocks in each compost product to customers is a requirement for every STA Certified Compost product in the program, and is shown on CTDS.

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Directions for Use

Our native soil profiles vary greatly around the country, along with climatic conditions, OM (organic matter) content, local plants with their specific needs, and cultural methods.  The directions compost manufacturers provide on their CTDS is customized to your area of the country and that compost manufacturer’s compost product.  It would be unrealistic to expect that one set of directions will apply to every consumer and scenario, but good directions provide specific numbers and reasonable ranges.

Bait and Switch

  • Did you get what you paid for? Check your bill of sale against your CTDS test results: Is the name of both the product and facility the same on each? Specific products, not entire companies or facilities, are in the STA Certified Compost Program.  Check to make sure that the compost product delivered is the same as the compost product you ordered or specified in your bid.
  • Check the test date: to make sure you are looking at recent results. Large manufacturers of STA Certified Compost must test monthly and smaller manufacturers must test every three months. If you are looking at old test results, the product may not be in the STA Certified Compost program anymore.
  • Check the USCC website for the most up-to-date list of participants in the STA Certified Compost program. This list is updated daily according to who has joined and who has maintained the requirements to stay in the program.