International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) is the largest and most comprehensive education initiative of the compost industry. It is celebrated nationwide and in other countries each year during the first full week of May. Started in Canada in 1995, ICAW has continued to grow as more people, businesses, municipalities, schools and organizations are recognizing the importance of composting and the long-term benefits from organics recycling.
The goal of the program is to raise the awareness of the public regarding the benefits of using compost to improve or maintain high quality soil, to grow healthy plants, reduce the use of fertilizer and pesticides, improve water quality and protect the environment. The program includes a poster contest, programs at schools and activities and events promoted through governments, public municipalities and local businesses nationwide.
Each year, a theme is chosen. The theme for this year is Cool the Climate – Compost!. This is the theme for the Poster Contest, which encourages artists throughout the world to create a design sharing the importance of composting and using compost. The meaning behind this year’s theme is that there are many ways to help reduce our carbon footprint and reduce climate change — adding compost to the soil is one tool in reducing climate change. The 2019 ICAW theme, “Cool the Climate – Compost!” recognizes the connection between soil health and climate. By composting, carbon captured by plants from the atmosphere is returned to the soil. In addition, the compost, when returned to the soil, provides resistance to drought and disease, adds nutrients, improve its workability and reduce the release of nitrous oxide.