ECN e.V.

Network for Organic Resources and Biological Treatment
ECN E-BULLETIN No. 12_2020
17 december 2020

Season’s Greetings

At the end of this year, we wish you and your family health, happiness and success for 2021 and thank you very much for the support of ECN!

The ECN Team
ECN response on the roadmap

New Soil Strategy - Healthy Soil for a Healthy Life

The European Compost Network ECN welcomes the roadmap of the New Soil Strategy, and calls on the European Commission to strengthen its policy by:
  • Recognising the numerous benefits for soil from compost application, including carbon storage
  • Exploring the best practices and bottom-up approaches to save organics in soil
  • Promoting their replication across the EU
The European Compost Network (ECN) highlights that soils are essential ecosystems which deliver valuable services such as the provision of food, energy and raw materials, carbon sequestration, water purification and infiltration, nutrient regulation, pest control and recreation. Healthy soils provide these functions simultaneously, therefore, soil is crucial for fighting climate change, protecting human health, safeguarding biodiversity and ensuring food security.
However, soil health is at risk in Europe and globally. For instance, 12.7% of European soil is affected by moderate to high erosion, causing an estimated loss of agricultural production in the EU of €1.25 billion per year[1]. In Southern, Central and Eastern Europe 25% of soils show high or very high risk of desertification corresponding to about 411 000 km².
The European Compost Network (ECN) highlights in its response the importance of saving organics in soils by closing the biological cycle and returning high quality compost and digestate from bio-waste to land.
The ECN response on the roadmap of the New Soil Strategy can be accessed here.

[1] Cost of agricultural productivity loss due to soil erosion in the European Union: From direct cost evaluation approaches to the use of macroeconomic models.

For download ECN’s fact sheets: ‘Soil Structure & Carbon Storage’ and ‘Soil Fertility and Productivity‘

Further info on ‘Soil and Land’ can be accessed on the Commission’s website here.

GrowingMedia2021 -

Call for abstracts until 15 January 2021

We warmly invite you to GrowingMedia2021, the 2nd International Symposium on Growing Media, Soilless Cultivation, and Compost Utilization in Horticulture (ISHS) to be held in the historic University city of Ghent, Belgium, from 22 until 27 August 2021. GrowingMedia2021 will be organised by ILVO, Ghent University and Hasselt University and held at PAC ‘Het Zuid’, Ghent, Belgium.

We invite abstract submissions for oral and poster presentations, on all topics related to the following research areas:
  • Growing media and sustainable use of resources
  • Integrated disease and pest control via interaction with the growing medium
  • Soilless cultivation: added value of innovations for water and nutrient use efficiency
  • Compost utilization in horticulture and its potential for carbon storage
Oral and poster presentations will be invited to cover the full spectrum of research, from theory to implementation and adoption by stakeholders.

Abstract submission is open from 1 December 2020 until 15 January 2021. Further info here.

Country Reports

Some of the ECN members have revised the Country reports for their country this year:
Denmark, Flanders (Belgium), Italy, Austria, Lithuania, Estonia
We present a summary of three reports in this E-bulletin. The reports from Denmark, Belgium (Flanders) and Italy were published in the last edition.


In Austria 1.25 Mio. tons organic waste, by products and industrial residues are treated in 402 compost plants and 642.300 tons organic waste is treated in 155 biogas plants. The bio-waste collection is developed and implemented on national scale. The national ordinance regarding the separate collection of bio-waste is since 1995 in force. Especially in urban areas impurities in the bio-waste pose an increasing problem. The prohibition of conventional plastic bags valid from 2020 may help to improve the situation.

In addition to the legal obligations the KBVÖ provides a mandatory comprehensive quality management and quality assurance scheme for its members. It is based on the Austrian standards (ONS2206-1 und -2, and the technical guideline ONR192206).

Facts and figures bio-waste management (2017)
  • Bio waste from households and similar facilities, separate collected (bio bin and green waste) 1.002.300 t
  • Bio waste from public green space (gardens, park waste, cemetery, roadside greenery) 498.900 t
  • Kitchen and food waste 115.700 t
  • Animal by-products: 367.300 t were treated in biogas plants (kitchen and food waste, dairy waste, slaughterhouse waste, manure, cooking oils and fats, fat separator materials), 17.300 t were treated in composting plants (food and semiluxury food residues and manure)
  • Organic waste processed in AD 642.300 t, whereas 1.25 mio. t were treated in composting plants
  • 300 t composts of different qualities were produced. 199.100 t residues emerged from composting and were lead to further treatment
  • Approximately 1.5 mio. t organic materials were composted in single and community composting facilites
  • Mixed municipal solid waste (residual waste) contained 17,81% organics which equals 256.410 t.
Composting plants:
402 composting plants, processing capacity 1.6 mio. tons; 1.25 mio. tons organic waste was treated. Size of facilities varies between very small plants to plants with 20.000 to input material.
Anaerobic digestion plants
155 biogas plants, processing capacity 1.2 mio. tons, 2017 about 643.300 tons organic waste was treated.

The updated Country report from Austria can be downloaded here.



Separate collection of kitchen waste started in 2018 In Lithuania and it is expected to be introduced in more cities in the following years. Few cities (notably Alytus) have introduced separate food waste collection schemes. Around third of cities have separate green waste collection in place.

Waste management takes place in 53 composting sites, 11 MBT plants (4 AD, 6 composting, 1 biodrying), 1 AD outside MBTs that treats biowaste (11 AD have permissions to treat biowaste), 3 incinerators.
In 2018, 391.426 tons of waste was composted in total (green waste 106.640 tons; sewage sludge (15.286 tons dry matter) and 34.793 tons of waste anaerobically digested. Green waste separately collected from households (89.399 t.) No data on separately collected food waste are available so far.

Application and market
Application of green waste compost is from hobby gardens to farming and landscaping. Use of sewage sludge is limited to farming and landscaping. All the compost and digestate from MBT is used as cover in landfills.

Expected trends and developments
In 2022 compost and digestate QAS will be introduced. MBT remaking to MRBT will be started at the end of 2020/beginning of 2021. Source separate biowaste collection is expected to be started in all largest cities in 2022.

The updated Country report of Lithuania can be downloaded here.


Since 2013 the regulation “Requirements for producing compost from biodegradable waste” is in place in Estonia. The ordinance regulates and sets requirements for the production site, production technology and limit values for various parameters. In addition to this, the regulation “Requirements for biogas digestate generated from biodegradable waste” was enforced in 2016.

Both regulations are end-of-waste regulation enabling producers of compost and digestate generated from biodegradable waste to certify compost and digestate as a product. The Certification Centre of Recycled Materials is the accredited organisation which carries out certification of compost.

Household biowaste is collected in urban areas from larger blockhouses (e.g. 10 flats). Collection rate has still to be increased. Collection of municipal waste is organised by municipalities and is run by private waste companies on basis of public procurement. Park waste from city parks and green areas is also collected.

The updated Country report of Estonia can be downloaded 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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