The organic and recycling chiefs said councils were working harder to divert organic waste into recycling schemes to meet government targets, launched this year.
"But many are sitting on the fence," said Jeremy Jacobs, acting chief executive of the Association for Organics Recycling, formerly the Composting Association.
"There's a lot of new technology and they are waiting to see which most suits their needs. They now face targets and fines of £150 per tonne over their allowance."
Jacobs said recent study trips to Italy and Germany held by the associaton were poorly attended by local authorities.
"They need to find out what's out there. Bearing in mind the lead-in time for any composting project is about two years, they need to act sooner rather than later."
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council went on a fact-finding tour of West Sussex-based green-waste recycler KPS, led by Councillor Julian Ellacott.