ECN e.V.

Network for Organic Resources and Biological Treatment
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15 march 2023
Joint Research Centre Report 02/2023

Towards a better definition and calculation of recycling

Recycling is any recovery operation by which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances whether for the original or other purposes, excluding energy recovery and reprocessing into materials that are to be used as fuels or for backfilling operations.
The development of innovative technologies, such as multi-output recycling technologies (e.g., chemical recycling), calls for increasing clarity on several aspects of the definition.
For instance, the current rules for calculating the amount of recycled municipal waste state that in case of multi-output processes the quantity recycled shall be determined by a mass balance approach. However, mass balance rules are not provided.
Lack of sufficiently clear guidelines also apply to compostable plastic waste and quality of recycling. This lack of clarity is an obstacle to the conception of robust policy measures addressing recycling and circular economy.
To close the gaps, this study contains technical proposals for
i) calculation rules to perform mass balance for reporting of recycling rate in multi-output processes and
ii) clarifications of the recycling calculation rules for biodegradable waste.
In addition, the study presents an estimation of the impacts of the changes proposed and a preliminary framework to address quality of recycling.
Click here for more information!
EP Plenary │ Resolution on ensuring availability and affordability of fertilisers

The European Parliament adopts resolution on fertiliser’s crisis

During the EP plenary that took place in February, the directly elected legislative body adopted a resolution on the Commission’s recent communication on fertilisers addressing the shortage and soaring prices mainly caused by EU’s dependence to third countries, especially Russia.
After extensive debate, MEPs passed the non-legislative resolution firstly drafted by the AGRI committee, highlighting the need for the bloc to wean itself off fertilising products and raw materials imports. Some of the members called for the development of a long-term fertilisers strategy, while others have focused more on additional support to industry and farmers in the short term. From the adopted text, it emerges that the EU should turn the attention to organic based fertilisers including digestate, compost and manure. The use of compost has been explicitly encouraged in the text, with point 55 underlining its beneficial effects on soil health and fertilisation together with its contribution to fight drought. In this sense, the EP is also pushing for a long-term EU soil nutrient strategy by June 2023 to foster nutrient recycling. Finally, MEPs requested the Commission to present an impact assessment, comprehensively analysing the supply of nutrients to EU farming from mineral, organo-mineral and organic fertilisers.
The resolution is not binding, still it urges Member States to take appropriate action on this timely and sensitive topic. To have a look at the full adopted text click here.
European Commission │ Experts Group: EU Fertilisers Market Observatory

EU Commission sets up group of experts to receive information on fertiliser markets

In its Communication of 9 November 2022 entitled 'Ensuring availability and affordability of fertilisers' the Commission committed to establish an observatory for fertilisers markets in the EU.
To this end, the Commission's responsible services - Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development ('DG AGRI') – has been charged to set up the EU Fertilisers Market Observatory as a group of experts on availability and affordability of fertilisers. The group’s tasks will include assess the current fertiliser markets situation, provide reliable data, assist the Commission in fostering market transparency along the supply chain and also sharing best practices. ECN will apply to be selected as an expert member.
For a thorough overview of the new expert group’s scope and activities and access more information click here.
ENVI Committee │ Opinion on ensuring food security and long-term resilience of EU agriculture

EP ENVI Committee stresses the need to sustainably manage land to ensure food security

Soil health is at the centre of ENVI Committee suggestions sent to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, which is the committee responsible to prepare a motion for resolution on food security and resilience of EU agricultural sector.
The text highlights the need for an ambitious Soil Health Law providing for the accumulation of the organic carbon lost, among other factors, and hopes that the proposal will not be delayed given the urgency of a long overdue framework that ensures soil protection. The ENVI Committee calls for advancements in alternatives to chemical fertilisers and increase self-sufficiency, through already available practices such as compost other sustainable organic fertilisers and agroecology. Among the points made by MEPs, there is also the Reiteration of the objective of at least 25% of the EU’s agricultural land under organic farming by 2030 in light of the proven ability of organic agriculture to produce food without the use of synthetic fertilisers.
The vote on the motion for a resolution within the AGRI committee is now expected on March 22nd.
Here you can access the full opinion at a glance.
Joint Research Centre Report 02/2023

Harmonised labelling of waste receptacles with matching product labels

Separate collection of waste is an enabler for the recovery of valuable materials which can be recycled or otherwise valorised. However, it relies on adequate sorting by individuals, which can be facilitated by relevant information provided on the product packaging (on-pack labelling), and on the receptacles used for waste collection.
Waste from packaging represents up to 40% of municipal solid waste and can drive the improvement in collection of recyclable materials. Meanwhile, as EU deadlines for separate collection targets close in, Member States are implementing various schemes designed to assist sorting, including labelling on products and bins. This often results in a multiplication of labels to be displayed in different jurisdictions, increasing costs for producers and increasing the risk of confusion for consumers.
Harmonised labels to be displayed on product packaging, with matching labels on waste receptacles indicating where those should be disposed of, would address these issues and yield economic and environmental benefits.
The analysis presented herein assesses the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of introducing such a harmonised labelling in the EU over the coming years. Results suggest that this measure would generate a net benefit as compared to a business-as-usual scenario. It would be expected to yield overall socio-economic benefits, and improvements in environmental performance in all cases considered.
The JRC report can be accessed here.


FinBaltRecycling I Webinar I 7 March 2023

Biogas and Nutrients Webinar

The ECN took part in the "Biogas and Nutrients" webinar. ECN's Executice Director Stefanie Siebert was keyspeaker and discussed "The EU Fertilising Products Regulation: Challenges and Perspectives for Digestate"
Click here to view the slides!

Coalition of Action 4 Soil Health

As part of “The 4 Per 1000: Soils for Food Security and Climate Initiative “ and co-initiator of the” SOS – Save Organics in Soil Initiative” the ECN has joined “CA4SH - the Coalition of Action 4 Soil Health”. The main objective of CA4SH is to improve soil health globally by addressing critical implementation, monitoring, policy, and investment barriers that constrain farmers from adopting and scaling healthy soil practices. The coalition will advocate for multi-stakeholder action to facilitate the adoption and scaling of healthy soil practices, with positive outcomes for economic prosperity, land productivity, climate and nature.
Click here for more information!
Free workshop!

Soil, a burst of life: the hidden world beneath our feet

How many organisms live in soil? What do they do? Why would it be important to protect them? Discover and learn everything about soil biodiversity in the free online course "Soil, a burst of life: the hidden world beneath our feet" developed by JRC's Soil Team.
Videos, activities and quizzes drive you through the incredible world living beneath your feet. Available course are in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Dutch. Free registration on EU Academy: Find more information about the citizen engagement and soil literacy in EUSO:

News from Members

Aktion Biotonne

German campaign raises awareness for clean bio-waste

As part of "Aktion Biotonne Deutschland" the Verband der Humus- und Erdenwirtschaft e.V. (VHE) has organised the "BIOTONNEN-CHALLENGE 2023". The campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of pure biowaste quality for the production of compost and digestate. Citizens should be conscious of the fact that any impurity (plastics, glass & metals' does not belong in the bio-bin. It starts May 26th, 2023.
Click here for more information on how to join:


ABIOTEC II I 17-18 April 2023

Workshop on Antibiotics in Manure and Digestate

Many biogas plants are linked to livestock and, therefore, to the animal pharmaceuticals that are used on the animals. The fermentation of manure might be suitable as a treatment, which reduces the potential for harm from certain antibiotics, but it can also pose a risk. Are there other ways to treat manure and reduce risk? What factors are important? Does reducing or even eliminating antibiotics solve the problem? And perhaps most important – how can we monitor it?
On April 17th and 18th in Weimar researchers from Germany, Netherlands, Denmark and USA will share their results on topics such as how antibiotics affect soil, the role of antibiotic resistant bacteria and genes, what effects they have observed in treatment options, and approaches for monitoring.
The workshop will be hybrid and the presentations can be viewed online. The discussion groups, however, will only take place in-person. They will address topics, such as which aspects need to be monitored and how as well as how to communicate targets to stakeholders, such as livestock farmers and veterinarians.
Click here for more information!
Click here to regsiter!
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.
Im Dohlenbruch 11, D-44795 Bochum
T: +49 (0) 234 438 9447
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ECN-QAS Trade Mark No 011007168
Trade mark for certified quality assurance
organisations, compost and digestate products

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