ECN e.V.

Network for Organic Resources and Biological Treatment
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22 February 2024
LIFE BIOBEST project | Policy Brief

Report reveals barriers in EU bio-waste management

The latest LIFE BIOBEST report exposes systemic obstacles hindering bio-waste policies' implementation across EU Member States. Despite obligations set in the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) and Landfill Directive (LD), targets remain in many cases unmet.
The report categorises barriers by topic, governance level, and bio-waste cycle step (Collection, Treatment, Use of outputs and Quality), highlighting widespread challenges. With insights from 14 Member States, it calls for urgent corrective measures to advance towards EU objectives. Ultimately, the report aims to enhance transparency and foster efficient bio-waste management, vital for achieving sustainability goals.
As a leader of the work package, ECN is pleased to share the results following this link. We would like to thank all the ECN members who provided valuable data to make the final report as accurate as possible.
EUROSTAT I Municipal waste 2022

Go for separate collection and recycling of bio-waste – NOW!

Compost is needed for healthy soils. Increase separate collection and treatment of biowaste. Only 17 % of municipal biowaste was recycled in 2022. Instead of increasing the recycling of municipal bio-waste the amount of treated municipal bio-waste dropped from 2021 to 2022. According to EUROSTAT only 43 million tonnes of municipal biowaste was recycled to compost in 2022. From 1 January 2024 biowaste has to be separately collected or source separated for being organically recycled in the EU. Member states and their municipalities have to act now!
DBU Project KUKOM I Germany

ECN attends KUKOM project on improving compost quality meeting near Hannover

The DBU-funded project (KUKOM, which stands for “KUnststoffe in KOMpost”) undertaken by Hamburg University of Technology, University of Hamburg, Entsorgungsbetriebe Lübeck and ASB Grünland aims to identify concepts for reducing plastics in compost. The project also seeks to establish a methodology for their analysis to ultimately promote compost as a soil improver and turf substitute.
The project's goals are intended to be achieved through the following means:
  • Enhancing the quality and quantity of separately collected household biowaste by testing new collection models focusing on food waste, thus improving the quality of the final compost product.
  • Developing a routine method to detect microplastics in compost.
  • Conducting additional analysis of potentially harmful substances in materials used for food waste collection (e.g., paper bags, biodegradable plastic bags, etc.).
  • Implementing novel methods for collection and analysis into practice.
ECN’s Scientific Officer, Steffen Walk, attended the meeting to provide an introduction to ECN’s quality assurance scheme and discuss current developments on compost and digestate quality requirements at the EU level.
Project information (in German): Link
Interreg Project CLOSECYCLE | Enhancing bioresource management efficiency

Project with participation of ECN members kicks off

The project aims to maximise the use of residue-based bioresources through regional networks. Tackling cross-border challenges in transitioning to renewable energies and a bioeconomy, the project will set up demonstration sites to showcase local resources and technologies, highlighting the potential of a circular bioeconomy and local value creation.
Key targets include:
  • Introducing a digital package for better local bioresource management.
  • Developing an action plan for processing residues into valuable products.
  • Establishing a territorial biorefinery network strategy.
  • Demonstrating advanced practices across sectors.
The project consortium comprises 18 partners from the public, private and academic sectors within the Interreg North Sea Region. Among them are three members of ECN, the French research institution INRAE, the German University of technology TUHH and the Flemish compost and digestate quality assurance association VLACO.
Project information (not yet available): Link
Trilogues | Carbon Removals Certification Framework

Lawmakers reach a deal on voluntary certification scheme for carbon removals

EU legislators found an agreement on the quantification, monitoring and verification of different types of carbon removals to boost their deployment and help the EU reach its 2050 climate neutrality goal.
Carbon farming activities include temporary carbon storage and soil emissions reduction and must be maintained for at least five years and are required to generate co-benefits for biodiversity and ecosystems. Reduction of methane release from enteric fermentation or manure management from livestock will be included as part of the 2026 review and The EU Commission is tasked to establish a public EU registry for carbon removals and soil emission reductions at the latest four years after the entry into force of this Regulation. Read more on the provisional agreement here and here, as well as on the Commission press corner.
European Commission | Expert Group on Carbon Removals

4th Expert Group meeting to tackle carbon farming and certification framework

The Expert Group set up by the EU Commission to inform the legislative process of the Regulation for a Union Certification Framework of Carbon Removals will meet for the first time in 2024 on 15 -17 April to resume works initiated last year.
The topics covered during the meeting will be: certification framework, certification process, verification, and registries; carbon farming; and permanent removals and long-term storage in products. More details will follow soon at this link and the event will be web streamed.
European Commission | 2040 Climate Target

EU Executive publishes its recommendations for a 2040 EU climate target, drops agriculture targets

The European Commission released a communication on the EU 2040 climate target plan, proposing a slash in emissions of 90% by the end of the next decade, compared to 1990 levels.
The communication, accompanied by an impact assessment presents the enabling conditions to reach this intermediate climate target and a pathway which prioritises the decarbonisation of industry and transport coupled with a just transition, and the strengthening of the renewable energy and bioeconomy sectors. The final version does not include specific reductions in agricultural emissions, which were included in a previous leaked draft. The published document will serve as basis of the political debate and preparation for the post-2030 framework.
European Parliament | Food Waste

ENVI Committee proposes more ambitious food waste reduction targets

On February 14, the European Parliament ENVI Committee met to vote on the draft report amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste. The text was adopted as amended with 72 votes in favour.
MEPs increased waste reduction targets previously proposed by the Commission, setting them at least at 20% in food processing and manufacturing (instead of 10%) and at 40% per capita in retail, restaurants, food services and households (instead of 30%). The ENVI committee also asks the commission to evaluate the feasibility of proposing higher targets for 2035.
European Parliament | Soil Monitoring Law

AGRI Committee asks for non-mandatory sustainable soil management practices and demands more flexibility

MEPs of the Agriculture Committee leverage their shared competency with the ENVI committee on sustainable soil management and land take matters to delete obligations set by the EU Commission.
The opinion, adopted on February 14, excludes previously proposed obligations to implement sustainable soil management practices, following principles such as the prioritisation of circular solutions for fertilisation and the increase of organic matter in soil. MEPs in the ENVI Committee will have to consider this result when negotiating compromise amendments and voting them in March. The text as adopted in the ENVI Committee will be then voted in the EP plenary.
European Environment Agency | EU 8th EAP

Meeting EU environment policy targets by 2030 will be challenging

The EU 8th Environment Action Programme (EAP) builds on the European Green Deal and sets the framework for EU environmental policy until 2030. EEA’s first monitoring report on the progress towards the 8th EAP objectives takes stock of progress towards Europe’s key environment and climate goals, based on 28 indicators and monitoring targets.
EEA main goal is to deliver knowledge and data to support Europe's environment and climate goals. The report highlights the challenges for the EU to meet most of the targets by 2030, including energy consumption, the rate of use of circular materials, and the share of land under organic farming. However, the report.
The report shows that the EU may not meet most of the monitoring targets: stronger implementation by the Member States of existing laws, additional measures, and mainstreaming climate and environment in other policy domains are needed for faster progress.
It is the first of the series to be published annually until 2030. More details can be found in the recently published Monitoring report on progress towards the 8th EAP objectives 2023 edition.
Trilogues | Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive

EU law makers strike a deal for more efficient treatment and monitoring of sewage waters

EU institutions have reached a provisional agreement on new urban wastewater rules, a final vote by the co-legislators awaits the new text before becoming law.
To address pollution from small agglomerations, the co-legislators extended the scope of the directive to include all agglomerations of 1000 population equivalent (before it was set at 2000), extending as well the obligation to apply secondary treatment. Targets for implementation of tertiary and quaternary treatments have been set, as well as a 2045 energy neutrality objective. An EPR scheme has been included in compliance with the polluter pays principle, with producers of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics leading to urban wastewater pollution required to contribute a minimum of 80% of the costs of this additional treatment.
Read the Council press release for more information.
European Commission | Bioeconomy

The Knowledge Centre for Bioeconomy (KCB) opens up its Community of Practice

From January 24th experts, researchers, practitioners and policymakers from all over Europe and beyond can join the Bioeconomy Community of Practice, up until now a Commission-internal group.
By joining the revamped Community of Practice, people will receive invitations to various events, workshops and participate to discussions about the topic of their work or expertise, and will have the possibility to meet and build acquaintances with stakeholders from the same area of interest.
To become a member this survey has to be filled in.
News from European Soil Data Centre I Newsletter No. 161

Presentations and recordings of the 3rd EUSO Stakeholder forum

The European Union Soil Observatory (EUSO) convened its 3rd Stakeholder Forum, an annual event organised by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) whose purpose is to actively engage and exchange with the soil community, from policy makers and scientists to local actors, civil society representatives and citizens.
The forum was an opportunity for anyone interested in soils to update and exchange on various themes including latest developments in soil policy, state of soil science, new and ongoing soil research projects as well as methods to assess soil health in the EU.
The forum took place in two phases: a) 15-17 November 2023 (online) with six Technical Working Groups (TWGs) organizing sessions on soil pollution, soil data sharing, soil monitoring, soil erosion, soil carbon and soil biodiversity. More than 700 participants attended the 65 presentations; and b) 21-23 November 2023, The European Soil Mission Week in Madrid, in which also the findings of the TWGs were reported. Presentations
and recordings:


ECNs Annual Meeting

We are delighted to announce that ECNs Annual Meeting for 2024 will take place during the week of the World Circular Economy Forum in Brussels. We are pleased to inform you that our meeting will be held in conjunction with a seminar co-organized with CIC as part of the EU FER-PLAY project, focusing on 'Alternative Fertilisers for Circularity & Soil Health,' scheduled for April 18, 2024.
Kindly mark your calendars for this important occasion. We will provide you with further details regarding the final time schedule in the upcoming weeks.

Fachverband Biogas I 27-29 February 2024 I Bremen (DE)

The Waste Anaerobic Digestion Day and the Quality Assurance Seminar for digestate ‚Abfallvergärungstag & GGG-Seminar‘ will take place for 27th to 29th February 2024 in Bremen (DE).
The first day (27/02) will deal with anaerobic digestion of manure and bio-waste and will focus on the hygienic requirements for manure and waste-derived digestates.
The seminar will take place only in German. Further information here.

European Carbon Farming Summit

The European Carbon Farming Summit will support high-level conversations to shape up robust carbon farming markets and policies. It will represent a space for sharing knowledge and experiences, upscaling solutions and enabling the multiplication of climate actions across the EU.
The Summit will provide a space for the sector to agree on best mechanics to scale robust climate actions. Venue: Valencia (Spain), 5-7 March:

Life BioBest consortium organises workshop on bio-waste management in Lyon (France) in March

For more information and to register, click here!
Save the date

The ECESP Annual Conference 2024: Circular Economy - from Visions to Actions

ICAW 2024 I 05 -11 May 2024

COMPOST... Nature’s Climate Champion!

The 2024 International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) theme is truly a collaborative and international effort. Again this year, we teamed up with the International Compost Alliance (ICA), which includes compost associations from around the world, to select: COMPOST... Nature’s Climate Champion!
Please celebrate the International Compost Awareness Week with us and please start to plan your event now!

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.

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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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