ECN e.V.

Network for Organic Resources and Biological Treatment
ECN E-BULLETIN No. 09_2021
5 August 2021
ECN Position Paper Published I 4 August 2021

Commitments of citizens and waste collectors are needed to avoid plastics in compost and digestate

According to ECN the organic recycling sector needs to look carefully at the issue of plastics and microplastics in the production of quality compost and digestate by pursuing the maximum quality management and assurance of the composting and anaerobic digestion process.
ECN and its member organisations are committed to produce quality compost and digestate starting form separately collected bio-waste by minimizing the presence of plastic (and other) impurities in the final product. ECN promotes the adoption of a Quality Assurance Scheme for compost and digestate by its member organizations that include stringent limits for physical impurities. According to ECN the quality of compost and digestate cannot be achieved without recognizing:
  • The importance of the purity of the feedstock (in terms of contamination with plastics) that is delivered at organic recycling facilities; bio-waste, the largest fraction of organic waste recycled in the EU, needs to be as clean as possible from conventional plastics such as plastic bags, food packaging and others, so to be treated effectively during the organic recycling process.
  • The better quality – in terms of physical impurities – that is obtained by collecting bio-waste with door-to-door collections schemes, compared to solutions relying on bring-schemes; door-to-door collection schemes are proven to raise awareness in households and other waste producers, leading to higher and better bio-waste sorting.
  • The technical limits of current machineries and technologies applied for pre-treating the feedstock to reduce physical contaminants or for refining the final product by sorting plastics; the organic recycling sector can reduce impurities, but technologies are unable to remove them entirely.
ECN would like to point out that according to the principles of circular economy, the quality of compost and digestate can be enhanced through a clear commitment of waste producers, of waste collectors and others not to collect impurities (such as plastics and other materials) with bio-waste; thus, the need for quality starts from waste producers and citizens, and continues with waste managers of cities and of municipalities, waste collection companies down to the composting and anaerobic digestion plants.
The ECN Position Paper 'Plastics, Microplastics in Compost and Digestate' can be accessed here.
Cré - Composting & Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland I May 2021

Guidance on quality standards for compost and digestate in Ireland

ECN member organisation 'Cré' – Composting & Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland, announced in May 2021 the publication of a Research Report: Development of Quality Standards for Compost and Digestate in Ireland, funded by Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
EPA licenses and local authority waste facility permits granted to composting and anaerobic digestion (AD) plants include a quality standard as part of the license/permit conditions. However, the parameters and limit values vary considerably as five different types of standards are being used.
Currently, Ireland does not have national end-of-waste criteria for compost and digestate derived from source separated organic materials. The aim of the study was to develop a quality standard for digestate and an updated standard for compost, and recommend a strategy on how Ireland should implement national end-of-waste criteria for compost and digestate.
The standards development project was carried out as part of the EPA Research Program 2014–2020. It is primarily a desktop study that was supplemented with additional laboratory analysis where there was no Irish data available.
The report published by the Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can be accessed here.
European Court of Auditors I Report on the Polluter Pays Principle I 05 July 2021

Inconsistent application across EU environmental policies and actions

Pollution represents a significant cost for society and is a key concern for EU citizens. By applying the Polluter Pays Principle (PPP), polluters are incentivised to avoid environmental damage and are held responsible for the pollution that they cause.
Overall, the auditors of the EU court found that the PPP is reflected and applied to varying degrees in the different EU environmental policies and its coverage and application was incomplete. The EU budget is sometimes used to fund clean-up actions that should, under the PPP, have been borne by polluters. The auditors recommend strengthening the integration of the PPP into environmental legislation, reinforcing the environmental liability regime at EU level, and better protecting EU funds from being used to finance projects that should be funded by the polluter. The report can be downloaded in different languages here.
betterSoil For a Better World I EP Event 25 May 2021

Soil Protection and Building up Organic Matter

Former EU Commissioner for Agriculture Franz Fischler and Member of the European Parliament Herbert Dorfmann co-host a virtual event to promote an EU integrated policy framework to build soil organic matter and humus to restore soil quality, health and fertility on 25 May 2021.
Soil protection and regeneration is gaining momentum in the EU agenda and many actors are awaiting the publication of the Updated EU Thematic Strategy for Soil after the summer. The European Commission already announced that the strategy should set the guidance for the Member States to establish common indicators to monitor, verify and report on the “good ecological status of soil”.
The event was recorded and is now available online. The organisers also developed a short survey to collect the opinion of the stakeholders with regards to the creation of a European Organisation to advocate in favour of humus formation.
France I European Affairs Committee I 18 June 2021

French Senators call for a European Directive to protect Soil

The senators of the European Affairs Committee adopted a motion for a European resolution calling for a directive on soil protection and recommend that the Member States monitor health and environmental risks linked to soil pollution.
The Committee on European Affairs notes that soils are the great forgotten items of European law, unlike water or air. Soil degradation has considerable implications for water protection, climate change, human health, biodiversity and nature protection. The lack of specific European legislation on soil results from the failure to adopt a framework Directive for soil protection in 2014. The European Affairs Committee proposes that the European Union adopt an effective and flexible instrument for the protection and prevention of land degradation.
EU Commission I Fit for 55 I 14 July 2021

Delivering the EU’s 2030 Climate Target on the way to climate neutrality

The Commission presented its major legislative package 'Fit for 55' consisting of several legislative proposals covering climate, energy, agriculture, transport, trade, taxation and social policy.
The Communication gives an overview of the different proposals as well as their linkages and why these policy measures were chosen. It also stresses that the package cements the EU’s global leadership by action and by example in the fight against climate change and strives to reach the targets in a fair, cost-efficient and competitive way.
New rules for renewable energy and for reducing emissions from agriculture are proposed. The European Commission want to turn agriculture into a carbon negative sector by 2035.
The presentation of the building blocks of the proposals was recorded and is available on the European Commission website with translation in 10 different languages. The link to the recording is available here.

Proposal on Carbon Border Tax on nitrogen fertilisers

The new measure, known as Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) aims to ensure that the price of imports into the EU accurately reflect their carbon content.
The package includes a proposal to avoid ‘carbon leakage’ by putting a carbon price on imports of certain goods, starting with cement, iron and steel, aluminium, electricity and nitrogen fertilisers.
The proposed CBAM Regulation proposes the border carbon tax on N, N+P, N+K and NPK mineral/chemical fertilisers, noting that the “difference in emission intensities of EU and non-EU producers is particularly high for fertilisers”.
In order to efficiently address the cross-sectoral subject matters covered by this legislative proposal, and conduct the preparatory work related to the negotiations on this legislative proposal in the Council, the Presidency proposes to establish an Ad Hoc Working Party on the carbon border adjustment mechanism (‘AHWP CBAM).


Registration still open I GrowingMedia2021

Online Industry and Policy Day on 26 August 2021

The registration for taking part in the Online Industry and Policy Day at GrowingMedia20121 is still open.
What is on the programme?
Keynote on biochar as an additive in composting by M. Sánchez-Monedero
  • Session on growing media and sustainable use of resources
    Peat replacement by coir, wood fiber, compost or processed miscanthus straw
    Social responsibility of the horticultural peat industry
    North American Soilless Substrate Science
  • Workshop by the International Peatland Society (IPS): Environmental matters related to peatland extraction and the meaning of "Responsibly Produced Peat” (presentations and apanel discussion)
  • Workshop by the European Compost Network (ECN) and Growing Media Europe (GME): EU Fertilising Products Regulation and the opportunities and challenges to bring growing media and soil improvers on the European market (presentations and panel discussion)
The Industry and Policy Day is integrated into the GrowingMedia2021 Symposium. Please note that registration for the Industry and Policy Day is automatically included in the registration for the full GrowingMedia2021 Symposium. However, the Industry and Policy Day can also be attended separately from the Symposium, but registration is necessary through the following link: Choose ‘1-day Virtual Attendence at 26 August only’.
Please find the detailed programme here.
23/09/2021 Austria I KBVÖ

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 (KBVÖ).
The full programme in englsich is available here.
Please register here.
UBA & Climate and Clean Air Coalition Exchange I 29 - 30 September 2021

The Challenge: Combating Global Warming with Waste Sector Actions

The German Environment Agency hosts an Experience Exchange with the Waste Initiative/Hub of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition CCAC from 29 to 30 September 2021. The hybrid event will take place in Berlin at the Event Space at the B-Part am Gleisdreieck. An international audience is invited to participate online. Participation is free of charge, only registration is requested.
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), founded in 2012, is a global partnership of states/governments, international organizations and NGOs with the aim to combat climate change and improve air quality by reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). Specific initiatives/hubs support the CCAC partners in their national and local ambitions and sectorial approaches.
Germany is represented by the Federal Environment Ministry and the German Environment Agency (⁠UBA⁠) since it joined in 2012. UBA is actively involved in the CCAC’s Waste Initiative/Hub with the aim of reducing methane emissions from landfill and black carbon (BC) emissions from open burning of waste worldwide. The Waste Initiative/Hub works on municipal solid waste internationally with public and private sector actors and regional networks on exchange of information and expertise, on strategy and development, technology and financing of climate-friendly waste management, and on emissions quantification or access to funding.
Further information and registration for the event here.

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.
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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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