ECN e.V.

Network for Organic Resources and Biological Treatment
ECN E-BULLETIN No. 05_2021
29 April 2021
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How to recycle organics and to feed our soils?

A Compost Journey Across Europe!

For celebrating the International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW 02-08/05/2021) we travelled across Europe to show you, how organics are recycled and used on our soils.
Thanks to the engagement of our members, we have received more than 20 video sessions from Scandinavia to Greece, from Portugal to Romania. We will showcase a selection of the videos in our online event on 5 May 2021 from 15:30 h to 17:00 h.

We will present real life from separate collection, composting and aneaerobic digestion, from the use of compost in agriculture, winegrowing, olive grove, horticulture and for hobby gardening.

If you like to join our compost journey, please register here.
ECN ICWA2021 Logo Text
European Parliament

EP calls for a EU-wide common legal framework for the protection of soil

After the debate at the European Parliament plenary on 26th April 2021 (video recording is available here) with the European Commission and the Council, the MEPs adopted a resolution on protection on soil on 28th April 2020.
The text adopted is available on the website of the European Parliament and it invites the European Commission to stepping up its efforts to adopt and ambitious EU policy framework on soil.

A holistic framework
Biodiversity, zero pollution, circular economy, research and innovation and the common agricultural policy. The European Parliament Resolution on protection of soil cuts across many different policy areas. It issues a lot of recommendations for the European Commission and the Council. In particular, it calls on the Commission to design an EU-wide common legal framework for the protection and sustainable use of soil, addressing all major soil threats, which shall include, inter alia:
  1. Common definitions of soil, its functions, and criteria for its good status and sustainable use;
  2. Objectives, indicators, including harmonised indicators, and a methodology for the continuous monitoring of and reporting on soil status;
  3. Measurable intermediate and final targets with harmonised datasets and measures to tackle all identified threats and appropriate timelines, taking into consideration best practices learned from ‘first mover’ efforts and respecting land ownership rights;
  4. Clarification of the responsibilities of different stakeholders;
  5. A mechanism for the sharing of best practices and training, as well as adequate control measures;
  6. Adequate financial resources;
  7. Effective integration with relevant policy targets and instruments.
The initiative seems very relevant and important because it calls on the Commission to accompany its proposal with an in-depth impact assessment study. This procedure is typical for highly political and relevant files such as the waste framework directive and the landfill directive.

Political value of the Resolution
An own-initiative report of the European Parliament is not legally binding but is a very useful indicator of the European Parliament’s priorities and concerns and it contains official calls on the European Commission to take action.

Perfect timing – waiting for the EU Updated Thematic Strategy on Soil
The Resolution arrives at the right time and provide the European Commission with the right level of ambition for the upcoming Thematic Strategy on Soil that DG Environment should publish in the next months.
A public consultation of 12 weeks concluded only few days ago. The European Commission should analyse the contributions received and take into account the opinion of the stakeholders and civil society.
Vlaco I Soilcom project

Soilcom lists hygienisation requirements for compost

A good quality compost is free of weed seeds and pathogens. In the Interreg SOILCOM project, Vlaco made an overview of the different hygienisation requirements for compost.
Growers in agriculture and horticulture often question if they don’t add and spread weed seeds and germs by applying compost. This is very understandable. Weeds seeds or a disease outbreak can cause quite some problems and can lead to major expenses. The fear for weed seeds and diseases is not necessary when the temperature in the compost pile is sufficiently high during a specific period of time. In that case, weed seeds, robust plant diseases and root nodules don’t make a chance. For this process it is important that the composting plant registers the temperatures of every batch they are making. And that the right hygienisation requirements are followed.
For composting, each country determines which conditions must be met. By making this overview we see large differences between the countries; some have almost no requirements. While in other countries there are very strict requirements. In SOILCOM, Vlaco made an overview of the hygienisation requirements in the participating countries: This overview gives extensive information how to take care of the hygienisation of compost.

European quality standard
The European Compost Network (ECN) developed a European quality standard: the ECN QAS. By developing this, ECN is building an European market for quality compost. ECN harmonises the requirements for compost across Europe. And supports the national quality assurance organisations like Vlaco (Belgium), BGK (Germany), CIC (Italy) and KBVOE (Austria). The Netherlands (Keurcompost) and the UK (PAS 100) have also independent quality control organisations which are not part of ECN QAS.
In SOILCOM hygienisation protocol the requirements for a good composting process are described. And how the different countries are dealing with compost. Companies that choose for certified green compost or biowaste compost are doing well!
Find out how ECN-QAS works.

Quality indicators of compost
In the different stages of the composting process, from waste streams till end product, it is important to have in mind what the characteristics of the end product will be. On the other hand for growers it is important to know which compost they are applying on their fields. And specifically when they are looking for a tailormade compost, appropriate to the properties of their field and crops. For both compost firms as well as the growers, the quality indicators of the compost must be clear. The partners in SOILCOM developed a document with these compost quality indicators.
The document ‘Compost Quality Indicators’ describes very clearly which indicators are important for compost, starting from pH, EC, bulk density to compost stability, contamination and impurities. In the document you find a description of the indicator and the method to analyse and measure the indicator. An interesting document for all the companies in the compost chain: from producers to users.


GrowingMedia2021 I 29 April - 31 May 2021

Registration is now open!

The organizing committee decided to organize a hybrid conference, a combination of an online and in-person meeting if the COVID19 situation allows this. Oral and poster presentations can be given both online and on the spot. A digital poster session and poster pitches are included in the programme. In terms of presentations, there is no difference between online and on the spot participation.
Early-bird registrations for the online participation in the hybrid conference are open from 29 April 2021 until 31 May 2021. For those who want to join the symposium on the spot, the early bird registration can be upgraded from June 1st onwards. On 1 June 2021 the organizing committee will decide based on current COVID19 measures the conditions and the number of participants for on-the-spot participation in the conference in Belgium. A surplus of € 150 per person will be charged for physical attendance. If we are limited in number of participants, participants with (a) an oral presentation and early-bird registration, (b) poster presentation and early-bird registration followed by (c) the other early-bird registrations will get priority (on a first-come first-served basis).
Register here!
Oral and poster presenters are expected to register before 31 May 2021 to be included in the final programme. Submission of a full paper before 30 April 2021 is mandatory for all oral presentations.
The on-the-spot location may change as we are now looking at a place with opportunities for having coffee and lunch outside if the weather allows to. All relevant information concerning the preliminary programme, keynote speakers, workshops, submission, registration, venue, social events and sponsorship opportunities can be found on the conference website.

ECN & GME policy-related session I 26 August 2021

Key speakers from EU Commission and Industry confirmed!

The European Compost Network (ECN) and Growing Media Europe (GME) aim to organize a session entitled ‘EU Fertilising Products Regulation – Opportunities and Challenges to place Growing Media and Soil Improvers on the European Market’ during the conference ‘GrowingMedia2021 – International Symposium on Growing Media, Soilless Cultivation, and Compost Utilization in Horticulture’.
The workshop will focus on the regulatory framework for the use of compost and digestate as ‘component materials’ for soil improvers and growing media in the framework of the EU fertilising product regulation and how these final products can be placed on the EU market.
We are happy to announce the key speaker and the programme of the session below:

EU Fertilising Products Regulation - Requirements for Growing Media and Soil Improvers based on Compost and Digestate
Jérémy Pinte, DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Unit GROW.F.2 – Bioeconomy, Chemicals and Cosmetics, Policy Officer
Opportunities and challenges for the manufacturers of growing media
Dr. Nele Ameloot, Growing Media Europe, Technical expert
Opportunities and challenges for the manufacturers of soil improver
Dr. Irmgard Leifert, ECN and RETERRA Service GmbH, Technical expert
Conformity assessment procedures for waste derived organic materials under the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation
Wim Vanden Auweele, ECN and Vlaco vzw, Technical expert

The policy session will be closed with a panel debate on the question 'Does the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation really contribute to the EU Circular Economy?'.
New Date: 23/09/2021 Austria

Austrian Compost & Biogas Association

7th International Practitioners Day for Composting

The 7th International Practitioners Day for Composting will take place on 23rd September 2021 in Langenlois/NÖ (AT) organised by the Austrian Compost & Biogas Associaton.
Further information:
Save the Date: 22/09/2021 Vienna (AT)

ECN Annual meeting 2021

At the last Board meeting (03/03/2021) the ECN Board decided to schedule the ECN Annual Meeting 2021 in conjunction with the 7th International Practitioners Day for Composting. Depending on the Covid situation, we are planning to organise the ECN Annual meeting 2021 on 22nd September 2021 in Vienna as a face-to-face meeting. Please save the date!

European Compost Network ECN e.V.
Im Dohlenbruch 11, D-44795 Bochum
T: +49 (0) 234 438 9447
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EU Transparency Register: 26513411360-51


ECN-QAS Trade Mark No 011007168
Trade mark for certified quality assurance
organisations, compost and digestate products

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