ECN e.V.

Network for Organic Resources and Biological Treatment
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16 february 2023
Public Consultation on PPWR I Deadline expended: 10 April 2023

ECN responded on the Commission's proposal for a packaging and packaging waste regulation

ECN acknowledges the efforts of the Commission in addressing the increase of packaging and packaging waste generation and tackling the limited competitiveness of secondary raw materials. Taking action towards a shift to a full circular economy that prioritises reuse and recycling is key to reaching resource efficiency and contributing crucially to the goals set in the EU Green Deal and Zero Pollution Action Plan to make Europe climate-neutral and toxic-free by 2050.
In light of the Commission’s proposal for a packaging and packaging waste regulation, as representatives of the bio-waste recycling sector, ECN would like to emphasize that biological treatment (composting and anaerobic digestion) is generally not foreseen as a recycling option for any packaging items.
The ECN supports the circular economy and our organisation and its members are committed to increasing separate collection and recycling of bio-waste and are engaged in producing quality compost and digestate to be used in growing media, as well as organic fertilisers and soil improvers applied in agriculture, horticulture and landscaping.
ECN’s feedback relates specifically to Article 8 ‘Compostable Packaging’ of the proposed legislation, which regulates the production and marketing of a specific and limited group of compostable packaging materials. Referring only to ‘compostable’ packaging is misleading as this does not cover all biological waste treatment techniques, like anaerobic digestion, which is a common biological waste treatment technology. It's used for the recycling of separately collected biowaste into quality products, like digestate. Biodegradation under anaerobic conditions shall be considered under Article 8 and especially the listed items in paragraph 1 shall degrade under all industrially controlled conditions in bio-waste treatment facilities.
The ECN firmly believes that policy makers in individual Member States need to have a prominent role in setting requirements and deciding which products can enter composting plants or anaerobic digestion plants based on national experiences. National policies should therefore be used to regulate ‘compostability’, and these policies need to be tailored according to the practices and infrastructures present in the specific countries, as a one-size fits all approach would prove inefficient and inapplicable.
Finally, the ECN calls the Commission to further push the Member States to start the separate collection of bio-waste and to set up the needed infrastructure on biological treatment, so that the mandatory separate collection set by 2023 will be realised.
The complete version of the ECN position paper on the proposal for packaging and packaging waste regulation can be accessed here.
The public consultation on the PPWR proposal is open until April, 10.
Life BioBest Project I Kick-off meeting I 01 2023

ECN involved in EU Life BioBest Project - Guiding the separate collection and management of biowaste

Since January 1st, ECN has started to work on the EU funded Life BioBest project, whose goal is to mainstream the separate collection of organic waste and the production of high-quality compost and digestate to close the biological cycle between biowaste generation and soil health.
Funded through the LIFE programme, EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action, the project responds to specific needs identified by the European Commission to address ad hoc legislative and policy priorities (PLP).
In this sense, the project will support the execution of obligations laid down in the Waste Framework Directive (WFD), which requires Member States to implement mandatory separate collection of biowaste from the start of 2024. Building on the obligation to collect organic waste separately, this project will also help sharing guidelines and best practices for the use of high-quality compost and digestate, as announced in the Soil Strategy 2030.
The objective is to develop policy recommendations to support EU policy makers in the decision process and to build from the extensive data set provided by all project partners to identify best practices and share knowledge among European countries. The expected result is the improvement of the quality of the input entering the recycling process and the consequent increase in high-quality soil improvers and fertilisers.
The partners involved in the project together with ECN are: Fundacio ENT, Consorzio Italiano Compostatori (CIC), Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) and Association of Cities and Regions for sustainable Resource management (ACR+).
You can also find the project in the new public dashboard launched by CINEA, the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency, covering all of its projects and programmes.
EEA I Soil Monitoring in Europe

Report on indicators and thresholds for soil health assessment officially published

The European Environment Agency (EEA) produced a soil monitoring report which include a comprehensive set of common indicators and risked-based thresholds to assess the soils’ quality and monitor soil threats in Europe.
The ‘monitoring’ component was assessed by the European Environment Agency, focusing on the progress made and the distance toward achieving the 2030 targets of the Zero Pollution Action Plan (ZPAP).
As European soils face increasing pressures from unsustainable management, climate change and pollution, among other factors, the EEA put up this report to support protection targets related to soil, relevant for current and future EU legislation.
Selected indicators are organic carbon, nutrients, acidification, pollution, biodiversity, erosion, compaction and sealing. For each one of them, the EEA laid down critical tipping points above which the functions and services provided by soils are negatively affected and reduced. Despite the development of adequate and broadly applicable indicators and thresholds is challenged by the great diversity of Europe's soils, biota and climate, as well as the varying political, economic and social conditions, this report describes the rationale for a series of common and broadly accepted soil health indicators to support policy.
The aim of the report is therefore to identify criteria that could serve to trigger policy and management practices, as well as creating knowledge for the evaluation of soil indicators.
You can find the complete report on EEA webpage.
AGRI Committee I Motion for a resolution on fertilisers

AGRI Committee calls for bolstering of organic fertilisers use in adopted motion for resolution

On January 31, the AGRI Committee of the European Parliament adopted a motion for a resolution in response to the European Commission communication on ensuring availability and affordability of fertilisers.
In the adopted document, prominent role has been given to organic soil improvers and fertilisers as an alternative to mineral fertilisers. The motion for a resolution especially encourages Member States to make available on the EU single market organic and bio-waste-based fertilisers by granting them access to CE market. The AGRI Committee calls upon the Commission to promote the use of all safe biowaste and animal by-products as alternative nutrient-rich streams and include them in the highly anticipated Integrated Nutrient Management Action Plan which is planned to be published in March. MEPs also lamented that the communication did not serve to facilitate the use of organic alternatives to chemical fertilisers, such us recovered nitrogen from manure and digestate from bio-waste obtained by anaerobic digestion of livestock effluents, requesting an amendment to Annex III to the Nitrate Directive to this end.
EEA I Report on secondary raw material markets

Europe's markets for secondary raw materials investigated in EEA report

A new report of the European Environment Agency shed a light on secondary raw material (SRM) markets functionality, which are key enablers of the circular economy and can contribute to better resource efficiency whilst reducing environmental pressure and pollution.
The report develops an assessment framework for eight different waste streams targeted by EU policy, including biowaste, to explain the features and functionality of existing SRM markets and the barriers preventing these markets to reach their full potential. Different criteria have been considered for the evaluation, including among others the market size, demand-supply interactions, economic drivers, industrial capacity for recycling and product standardisation.
According to EEA findings, the market for secondary fertilisers and soil improvers derived from biowaste does not fit the criteria to be defined as well-functioning market, with compost just fulfilling the criterion related to quality management and standardisation (ECN-QAS) and only partly the one related to industrial capacity. Proposed solutions to overcome barriers on both supply and demand sides encompass the extension of binding recycling targets for the biowaste stream, as well as economic incentives (VAT reduction) or the introduction of an environmental tax on primary materials to reduce cost disadvantage of SRMs.
To access the complete report at a glance click here.
ETC/CE Reports 2022/5

Country profiles on Circular Economy in Europe

At the request of The European Commission EEA has produced EU country profiles that offer an updated view of circular economy policies being implemented at a national level with a particular focus on elements that go beyond EU mandatory elements, and best practice with a focus on policy innovation.
While implementing the EU Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP 2020), Member States are encouraged to advance circularity at a national level by adopting policies and initiatives that go beyond EU regulations, while preserving the Single Market.
These circular economy country profiles are based on information reported by the Eionet network and, in particular, the Eionet Group on Circular Economy and Resource Use in the second quarter of 2022. The information was reviewed and edited by the European Topic Centre on Circular economy and resource use (ETC CE). A selection of Eurostat data was made to further complement this country profile.
The information is current as of September 2022 (final review) when members of Eionet verified the content of this profile.
Download the best practices reports:
Circular Economy policy innovation and good practice in Member States
Circular Economy policy innovation and good practice in Kosovo, Switzerland and Türkiye

News from ECN Members

CRÉ I Ireland

Ireland’s National Food Waste Prevention Plan published

The Irish Waste Management (Food Waste) Regulations 200933 require the source segregation of food waste from specified commercial sources. In line with a commitment in the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, legislation will be introduced to mandate that all households on a kerbside collection service be provided with an organic waste bin.
Key Priority Actions for Food Waste Segregation
  • Introduce incentivised pricing for Commercial waste to support an increase in the segregation of waste. (Action 22)
  • Make the provision of an organic waste bin mandatory as part of a waste collection service for all households. (Action 23)
  • Roll out the provision of kitchen food waste caddies (via campaigns) to householders that have an existing organic bin collection service. (Action 24)
  • Roll out Food Waste Recycling Awareness activities including an annual National Food Waste Recycling Week (action 27)
In 2020 a food waste recycling pilot project report was published which includes the results of pilot activities focusing on improved food waste recycling.
Following this pilot project, a group of stakeholders, involving DECC, the waste industry including the Irish Waste Management Association, Cré (Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland), the Regional Waste Management Planning Offices and the EPA, are carrying out a number of collaborative activities to improve food waste segregation. This includes a focus on the roll out of food waste kitchen caddy packs to a number of householders, and education and awareness on how to segregate food waste with a focus on reducing contamination. Approximately €1 million funding is being allocated to support food waste recycling awareness initiatives being led by the Regional Waste Management Planning Offices in 2022 and 2023.
The Irish Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy also commits to supporting food waste segregation and management with measures such as
  • Using National Waste Collection Permit Office and other ‘brown bin’ data to develop strategies and investigate how new technology can support greater usage;
  • Through changes to waste collection permits, and working with the Local Authority sector, ensuring that every householder has access to a reliable, clean and sustainable way of managing food waste;
  • Working with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to make regulatory changes in planning and tenancy laws required to ensure apartment dwellers are provided with infrastructure to support food waste segregation;
  • Incorporating municipal waste recycling targets as conditions of waste collection permits.
Further Info on Ireland’s new National Food Waste Prevention Roadmap 2023-2025.


CESC I February 27 - 28

Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference to take place at the end of February

The European Economic and Social Committee and the European Commission will host the 2023 European Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference in February 2023. The conference will take place on 27-28 February in hybrid mode and will focus on the role of the circular economy in driving sustainable recovery, open strategic autonomy and resilience.
Day 1 will be hosted by the Commission and explore issues such as innovative regulations and initiatives in the context of, among others, the circular economy, EU recovery and resource independence.
Day 2 will be organised by the EESC and focus on stakeholders' views. Biodiversity and climate and resilience for Europe will be the two main topics.
Here you can register to attend the conference. Please not that registration is closed for day 2 but you can write to, with "Reserve list" as the subject. You will receive a confirmation email as soon as there are spots available.
Webinar I 23 February 2023

Identifying the Sources and Scale of Plastic in Compost Derived from Household ans Commercial Food Waste

Over the last year a project in Ireland has been looking at sources and scale of plastic in food waste collections. There have been over 50 waste characterisation studies done on commercial and household organic waste collections to determine the level of contamination. Products have been analysed if they contain plastics. The project is at a stage where possible solutions to eliminate plastics are being proposed. This workshop will present the draft findings and outline
possible solutions in which you can vote on what you think are practical. Click here to register for the webinar!

Survey for plant managers
element of the project is to seek feedback from plant managers (not technology providers) on the efficiency of technologies in removing contamination from unprocessed feedstocks and the final compost or digestate. Click here if you'd like to support the study and take the survey. This survey is annonymous and only takes 5-6 minutes to complete!
Clicke here for more information!
NDR Documentary

Great video on the separate collection of bio-waste and it’s benefits

The German television channel NDR just released a documentary that deals with the question of how to correctly separate bio-waste and what happens to it afterward.
Backed by the expert opinions of Dipl. -Ing. Gabriele Mahr, Dr. Michael Jedelhauser and Steffen Walk the documentary establishes the challenges of separate bio-waste collection and elaborates on the contribution, that bio-waste could have in fighting climate change. Sadly the video is only available in German, click here to watch it.
European Commission I HORIZON Europe

Soil Mission Calls (2023) are open

Under Horizon Europe, the European Commission funds research and innovation in order to protect and restore soils in Europe and beyond. This funding is in line with the EU Mission “A Soil Deal for Europe”. The call for proposals for 2023 is open till 20.9.2023.
This includes the following 9 topics: Discovering subsoil, prevent & combat desertification, soils in spatial planning, soil friendly practices in horticulture, bringing communities & citizens closer to soil, digital technologies to monitor nutrients/chemical and biological stressors to soils, carbon farming in living labs, Co-creating solutions for soil health in living labs, soil pollution processes.
More information here!
EESC event | Carbon removal certification

Video recording and presentations are available

On 17 January 2023 the EESC hosted a public hearing on the carbon removal certification. The event brought together representatives of European institutions, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to take stock of current certification schemes, explore different methodologies and discuss what an EU-wide certification framework needs to provide for in practice to make it transparent, reliable and avoid greenwashing.
A video recording, as well as the presentations of the speakers, are available on our website. Read more


ICAW 2023 I 7 - 13 May 2023

For Healthier Soil, Healthier Food…Compost!

International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) is the largest and most comprehensive education initiative in the compost industry. It is celebrated worldwide each year during the first full week of May. The dates for ICAW 2023 are May 7 - 13. The 2023 International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) theme is truly a collaborative and international effort. This year, we teamed up with the International Compost Alliance (ICA) to select: For Healthier Soil, Healthier Food…Compost! The theme was chosen based on a serious worldwide issue that every nation, unfortunately, experiences: hunger.One of the initiatives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), is Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
Please celebrate the ICAW 2023 with an compost event on your plant or in your community!
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BVOR-Demodagen I 24-25 May 2023

BVOR-Demodagen - Outdoor machinery exhibition for bio-waste in the Netherlands

The ‘BVOR-Demodagen’ will take place at Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th of Mai 2023 at the compost plant from ‘Combinatie Afvalzorg & den Ouden vof’ in Brunssum, close to the German and Belgian border. The Demodagen are freely accessible for visitors.
Every two years, the BVOR (Dutch Association of Bio Waste Processors) organises the BVOR-Demodagen at one of the plants of their members. During the exhibition companies and organizations demonstrate machines and services for companies which make compost or biomass out of bio waste. Almost 40 machines are demonstrating their abilities. Shredders, chippers, windshifters, turnover machines, screening machines can be seen in action.
In the morning and afternoon there are organised tours (in Dutch). Inside, there is also more information from different exhibitors. Additionally to the companies with the machinery, there are organisations which have a link to the world of bio waste, e.g. consultancies, governmental organisations, weighing systems, certification.
More information can be found here.
4per1000 & BSAG Regional conference I Helsinki (FI) I 6-8 June 2023

Conference on Soil Carbon Sequestration – Registration open

The 1st ever Northern Europe “4 per 1000” Regional Meeting takes place in Helsinki, Finland on 6–8 June 2023. Please join the discussion on soil carbon sequestration, gain new perspectives and become inspired. The conference is organised by the 4per1000 initiative and the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG).
Participation is free of charge. However, the organisers reserve the right to charge no-shows with the costs incurred (approx. 150 € per day).
Registration: 28 February 2023
Submission of poster abstracts: 28 February 2023 (further instructions upon registration)
Please register here.
IPT 2023 I Vienna (AT) I 7 September 2023

International Practitioner Day on Composting Plant of the City of Vienna

Please save the date for the composting and technology demonstration days of the Austrian Compost & Biogas Association (KBVÖ).
Further information will follow soon!
RAMIRAN 2023 I Cambridge (UK) I 12-14 September 2023

Registration and abstract submissions still open

We are pleased to announce that registration and abstract submissions for the 18th international RAMIRAN conference are now open at
RAMIRAN will be held in Cambridge, UK from 12–14 September 2023 and will focus on developing strategies to maximise the efficiency of organic materials against a background of changing regulation, policy and market forces and increasing pressure on the environment, soil quality and food production.
Oral and poster presentations are invited to cover the full spectrum of research, from theory to implementation and adoption by stakeholders.
The deadline for submitting abstracts for RAMIRAN 2023 is 3 March 2023. Please check the RAMIRAN 2023 website for updates on the conference:

S.O.S Save Organics in Soil

This international initiative S.O.S. SOIL – Save Organics in Soil, led by the European Compost Network (ECN) and the Italian Composting and Biogas Association (CIC), aims to highlight the importance of soil organic matter to encourage policy makers to develop instruments to move Europe towards implementing sustainable, climate proof soil management practices.
Sign the manifesto 'Save Organigs in Soil' here.

European Compost Network ECN e.V.
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