ECN e.V.

Network for Organic Resources and Biological Treatment
01 APRIL 2022
ECN Position Paper I 31 March 2021

ECN calls the European Parliament to keep composting and anaerobic digestion of biowaste out of the scope of the EU Emission Trading System

The inclusion of anaerobic digestion and composting in the EU Emission Trading System (EU-ETS) (2003/87/EC) would undermine more than 20 years of efforts to introduce efficiently separate collection and treatment of biowaste. As a consequence, it will significantly weaken high quality recycling of biowaste for biogas, digestate and compost production.
High quality recycling of biowaste is crucial to achieve the 55% GHG emission reduction target by 2030. Additionally, without separate collection and recycling of biowaste, it will be impossible for Member States to achieve the recycling targets and the Farm to Fork targets.
The ongoing geopolitical concerns about energy security and related energy costs, as well as fertilizer price developments, also require a significant increase in the high-quality recycling of biowaste. Biowaste is an important resource for sustainable nutrients and organic matter.
Composting and anaerobic digestion are essential in attaining the objectives of the EU Green Deal in terms of increasing reliance on green energy, reducing EU’s carbon footprint, saving resources and contributing to carbon sequestration.
The policies under the EU Green Deal are designed to promote the circular economy and generate valuable biobased energy, organic fertilizers and soil improvers, which replace mineral fertilizers, maintain and increase organic matter in soils and replace peat in growing media. Keeping biowaste away from landfills saving resources and energy and sequestering carbon in soil will save CO2 and will contribute to fight against climate change.
ECN urges the Environmental Committee of the European Parliament not to include biowaste management under the EU-ETS, as this would counteract the objectives of recycling of nutrients and organic matter, and the goals of an effective transition to a circular economy.

The proposal was presented as part of the Fit for 55 package on 14 July 2021, a broader legislative package aimed at aligning relevant legislation to an increased 2030 emissions reduction target.
European Emission Trading System (EU-ETS) is under discussion in the EU Parliament. The vote on the draft report of the ENVI Committee of the European Parliament and the amendments will take place on 16 May 2022.

The ECN position paper can be accessed here.
Public Consultation on Nutrient Management Plan I Deadline 26 April 2022

Commission plans to set up an Integrated Nutrient Management Action Plan

The European Green Deal, the circular economy action plan, the biodiversity strategy and the farm to fork strategy announced that the Commission would draw up an integrated nutrient management action plan to help reduce nutrient losses by at least 50%, while ensuring that there is no deterioration in soil fertility.
The integrated nutrient management action plan will look at the entire nitrogen and phosphorus cycles. It will cover all environmental media (air, water, marine and soil) and all relevant sources of pollution (e.g. agriculture, industry, urban, waste, energy, transport). It will identify policy gaps for a more coherent and integrated approach to reducing pollution throughout the nutrient cycles. The initiative will develop a framework for action needed at all levels (EU, national, regional) in order to achieve the objectives set in EU law and the climate and environmental commitments under the Green Deal.
The action plan will complement the zero pollution action plan for air, water and soil. It will build on recent, ongoing and planned evaluations (such as the evaluation of the Sewage Sludge Directive) and revisions of the related legislation (such as the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive and the Industrial Emissions Directive).

The call on the initiative can be accessed here.
Please take part in the public consultation here.
Public Consultation on Microplastic in the environment I Deadline 17 May 2022

Microplastics pollution – measures to reduce the impact on the environment

The new public consultation aims to support the European Commission’s initiative on Microplastics pollution – measures to reduce impacts on the environment.
This initiative focusses on microplastics that are unintentionally released into the environment such as resulting from the use of a product, for instance by fragmentation or abrasion. It focusses on the sources with the highest known releases:
  • from plastic pellets (intermediate materials used for the fabrication of plastic items),
  • from synthetic textiles,
  • from tyre abrasion,
  • from paints, including architectural and marine paints, road markings,
  • from geotextiles (used for civil engineering works such as road construction, coastal erosion prevention, drainage, etc.),
  • from detergent capsules for laundry and dishwashers.
While the initial scope was only on pellets, textiles and tyre abrasion, the impact assessment support study on ‘Cost-benefit analysis of measures reducing unintentional releases of microplastics in the environment’ and stakeholder consultations called the attention to three additional sources: paints, geotextiles and detergent capsules.

You can find public consultation here.
EU Council I 16 March 2022

Council has adopted the 8th Environmental Action Program

On 16 March the Council has adopted the 8th Environmental Action Programme (EAP). The 8th EAP will serve as a guide for environmental policymaking and implementation until 2030. The adoption follows a provisional agreement reached with the European Parliament in December 2021 and is the final step of the adoption procedure.
The 8th EAP aims to accelerate the green transition in a just and inclusive way, with the 2050 long-term objective of ‘Living well, within the planetary boundaries’.
The six thematic priority objectives of the 8th EAP concern: greenhouse gas emissions reductions, adaptation to climate change, a regenerative growth model, a zero-pollution ambition, protecting and restoring biodiversity, and reducing key environmental and climate impacts related to production and consumption.
The Council and the Parliament agreed on several enabling conditions for achieving the priority objectives, in particular:
  • decreasing the EU’s material and consumption footprints
  • strengthening environmentally positive incentives
  • phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies, in particular fossil fuel subsidies.
The co-legislators also agreed to include in the 8th EAP a mid-term review in 2024 of the progress achieved in reaching its thematic priority objectives. Following this review, the Commission should, if appropriate, submit a legislative proposal to add an annex to the 8th EAP, which contains a list and timeline of actions for the period after 2025.

The European Commission presented its proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and the Council on a General Union Environment Action Programme to 2030 on 14 October 2020. The Council presidency and the European Parliament’s negotiators reached a provisional political agreement on the proposal on 1 December 2021.
That decision has been formally adopted. It will now be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and enter into force.
JRC EoW report I 10 March 2022

No further ‘Bio-materials’ on the priority list for end of waste streams

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission made available its Report “Scoping possible further EU-wide end-of-waste and by-product criteria” on 10 March 2022.
In order to determine the overall potential of candidate streams for the further development of EU-wide end-of-waste or by-product criteria, the JRC and the Directorate-General for the Environment of the European Commission collected data and information from Member States, industry and environmental NGOs by means of an online survey and a structured written consultation.
Priority waste or by-product streams
The study identified as priority streams those candidate streams with a higher overall potential for the further development of EU-wide end-of-waste or by-product criteria:
  • Five streams recovered/recycled from plastic waste, namely (i) polyethylene terephthalate; (ii) low- and high-density polyethylene; (iii) mixed plastics waste; (iv) polystyrene and expanded polystyrene; and (v) polypropylene plastic;
  • Textiles, namely (i) separately collected clothes and other textiles prepared for re-use; (ii) cellulosic fibres recovered/recycled from textile waste; and (iii) mixed fibres recovered/recycled from textile waste;
  • Rubber recovered/recycled from end-of-life tyres;
  • Aggregates recovered/recycled from construction and demolition waste, in addition to mineral wool recovered/recycled from demolition waste;
  • Paper and cardboard waste.
The expected Implementing act is unlikely to be adopted before 2024.

News from ECN Members

Cré press release I 28 March 2022

Ireland has Potential to Produce its own Fertiliser from its Food Waste

With fertiliser prices surging past €1,1000 a tonne – up from €200 just a few weeks ago – waste collectors and the agricultural industry are being urged to ‘join up’ to alleviate some of the emerging pressures that surround demand for fertiliser.

Now, more than ever, is the time to collect and process food waste into quality compost and digestate so farmers can use them and avoid buying expensive fertilisers.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report [1] estimates that Ireland generates approximately 1 million tonnes of food waste. We are currently collecting and processing under a third of this into quality compost and digestate which can be used in the agriculture as a soil improver, fertiliser replacement or as a peat replacement in the horticultural sector.

A copy of the Press Release can be downloaded here.
[1] NWPP-Food-Waste-Report.pdf (
ECN Job Vacancy I Deadline for application: 29 April 2022

ECN is looking for a Policy Officer for Environmental and Agricultural Affairs

Are you interested to bring Europe forward towards a circular bioeconomy and a more sustainable agricultural policy? Then please join us. We are looking for a new Policy Officer for Environmental and Agricutural Affairs.
The ECN wishes to strengthen its advocacy activities at the European level and their expertise on political topics around nutrient recycling and circular bio-economy. The ECN is looking for a Policy Officer that will take a leading role in furthering this cause. They should be interested in environmental issues and bring forward Europe towards a circular bioeconomy and a more sustainable agriculture.
The position provides the opportunity to work within a large network across Europe playing a key role in the circular bioeconomy and fostering sustainable and environmental agricultural practices. You will be able to work on a variety of topics related to the environment and the bio-waste management sector. You will profit from building up contacts to policy makers and stakeholders across Europe.
We are looking for a full-time candidate, situated in Brussels.

Deadline for application: 29 April 2022
Please access the full job description here.


EU Green Week I 30 May – 5 June 2022

Sustainable Transformation towards a resource-efficient and climate-neutral Europe by 2050

EU Green Week will take place from 30 May to 5 June 2022. The main hybrid event on 31 May puts three important aspects of the transformation in the spotlight – circular economy, zero pollution, and biodiversity. Throughout the week, partner events will be taking place across Europe and beyond.
The programme of the EU Green Week 2022 can be accessed here.

How to take part in the Partner Events?
Partner Events must be related to this year’s theme, EU Green Deal – Make It Real, which covers a wide range of topics and sectors, from industry and new technologies to biodiversity and climate change. The main idea behind this is to raise awareness and involvement among a maximum number of stakeholders and anyone interested in environmental protection at local, regional and national levels.

The deadline for registration of a Partner Event is 15 April 2022.
European Soil Observatory I 20-22 June 2022

Workshop on “Soil erosion for Europe – Emerging challenges”

The European Soil Observatory Working Group on Soil Erosion organises a 3-days workshop “Workshop on soil erosion for Europe – Emerging challenges”, on 20-22 June 2022.
This is a call for presentations at this workshop. If you are interested to present your work relevant to the proposed sessions, please send your proposal with a tentative title (and 5-10 lines of abstract) to one of the nine Session Chairs (mentioned in the flyer). One session will focus on Soil organic carbon and erosion integration. The event will be online.
Global Soil Partnership I 26-29 July 2022 I 12:00-15:00 CEST I Virtual

Soils for Nutrition Symposium: Call for abstracts

What is the state of soil fertility? What kind of data is available for practitioners? What is the relation between soil fertility and human nutrition? The Global Symposium on Soils for Nutrition will answer this and other questions!
The Organizing Committee of the Global Symposium on Soils for Nutrition (GSOIL4N) is currently accepting abstracts that will compete for oral and poster presentations during this symposium. The abstracts should be submitted in English, maximum 3.000 characters (without spaces).

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 30 April 2022.
Website and registration link available soon!

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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