March 19, 2012

Lobbyists Help Rebrand Industrial Sludge As “Organic … Compost”

Lobbyists Help Rebrand Industrial Sludge As "Organic ... Compost"How do you turn toxic sludge — including medical, industrial and human waste — into compost used for home gardening? Well, if you’re a large corporation, you hire a small army of lobbyists and public relations experts to pressure government regulators and aggressively fool the public. The Center for Media and Democracy’s Sara Jerving reports:

A trade association known for using the terms “compost,” “organic,” and “biosolids” to describe sewage sludge is investing in a new public relations campaign to influence policymakers and the public. The US Composting Council (USCC), which was founded by the disposable diaper industry, will be expanding its long-standing efforts to “rebrand” sewage sludge, which is increasingly disposed of on agriculture crops and through garden centers without telling the public that their food is being grown in medical, industrial, and human waste. […] The firm is slated to meet with Kathy Kellogg, whose title at her family’s sludge business is “Chief Sustainability Officer” for Kellogg Garden Products. Her organization has been criticized by CMD and others for marketing sewage sludge for use in “organic” school children’s gardens.

Jerving and her colleagues have been following these efforts closely, including the relatively new effort to rebrand toxic waste using environmental themes.

Read the rest of her investigation here.