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Storm in a teacup over compost ruling.

A storm is brewing after the humble teabag was banned from council compost heaps - because it has been classified as an animal by-product.

Householders in Cardiff have been told that, under EU rules designed to combat a future foot-and-mouth outbreak, products such as vegetables, coffee filters and teabags cannot be collected for composting.

Teabags are considered dangerous because they could have come into contact with contaminated milk.

The products can only be treated using a hightemperature composting system, but few councils, and none in Wales, have them.

A spokesman for Cardiff Council said: 'This affects every single authority in Wales. The legislation is the EU Animal By-products Order 1999. The actual issue is the method of how you compost.'

Cardiff is considering plans to upgrade to an enclosed 'invessel' composting system in the next few years in a bid to take the heat out of the row.

A spokeswoman for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: 'Home composting is no problem, but when it comes to commercial or municipal composting, because you can't guarantee that the teabag hasn't come into contact with an animal product, you can't technically put it in. It needs to be treated as a by-product.'
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 7, 2005
Words:203
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