Understanding "Organic"

The universe of organic products covers many categories and is only getting larger.  This is confusing but we are here to help.  First, it is important to understand that there is no single definition or standard that applies to “organic” products.  All Cedar Grove products are generally considered organic because they are created using all-natural ingredients with no chemicals or additives*.  With that in mind, here is a helpful summary of some of the key differences with the different types of certifications and registrations for various organic products.

Certified Organic Food Labels

The most common association to organic labeling is organic foods.  Compost and compost-related commercially manufactured products are not regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The USDA certifies producers/farmers of food and seed crops and the processors and handlers of organic products under their National Organic Program (NOP). Foods certified organic by the USDA are grown using approved practices on certified organic farms or made up with organic ingredients.

“Certified Organic” Product Labels including for Soils is Different

Compost and soil products are not “certified” in the same way as organic foods.  Rather, compost soil products can be “registered” as in input for use on certified organic farms.  Compost made with compostable packaging as a feedstock cannot be registered for use in organic agriculture.

These registered products are truly only needed by farms and agricultural sites that are certified or are wanting to become certified as an organic farm or producer.  Here is a list of our registered/listed products for organic agriculture:

  • Cedar Grove Compost;
  • Cedar Grove Potting Soil;
  • Cedar Grove Booster Blend – Garden Soil

What about inadvertent plastics? How is it organic if there is plastic in it?

Recycled commercial soil products often include some form of inadvertent contamination.  While most people are good about composting the right materials in their bins, some folks ignore the rules.  Under the state rules which we follow there is an allowance for inerts that may get into the finished product like plastic.  We do not purposely put it in there and we take contamination issues very seriously.  Our operation includes many steps to remove these materials like magnets for metals and vacuums for film plastic.  Unfortunately, sometimes things can get through and into the finished products.

Our state department of ecology supports composting and understands that incoming material will inherently contain some forms of contamination in the form of plastic, glass etc.  Finished compost must meet strict standards and all Cedar Grove material that is sold meets these strict standards.

If you believe your material has an unreasonably high amount of contamination, please contact us and let us know how we can help fix the problem.

*Under Washington rules, Cedar Grove’s bagged Potting Soil cannot be sold as organic but it can be sold as organic in CA, OR, NV, ID and other state’s subject to change.

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