The area ‘Quality Assurance for Compost and Digestate’ is focussing on the further development of quality assurance aspects in different fields for the use of compost and digestate and the implementation of the ECN-QAS in Europe. For facilitating the work, ECN has set up two task groups:
- TG ‘Quality Assurance’
- TG ‘Growing media and Horticulture’.
In order to support the manufacture of quality compost and digestate across Europe, ECN developed a concept for a pan-European quality assurance scheme (ECN-QAS) within its working group ‘Quality Assurance for Compost and Digestate’. This includes the characterisation of quality standards for recycled organic resources (compost and digestate) with the aim of facilitating the free cross-border movement of goods within the EU.
The ECN-QAS, which was launched in 2010, sets out requirements for national quality assurance organisations, process management and compost and digestate quality criteria. The ECN-QAS sets a common basis for existing quality schemes in Europe and can be considered as an example to support Member States to define quality standards and develop their own quality assurance scheme for composts and digestate.
In the medium term, ECN’s engagement in quality assurance has the potential to influence a number of different policy areas (in particular: waste, resources, product, energy, soil and agriculture) in Europe. It is anticipated that the work of ECN in developing and implementing the ECN-QAS will help support Member States to effectively recycle biodegradable wastes into marketable products that are beneficial for the environment and human health.
In the long term, ECN aims to establish a benchmark for quality assurance schemes for compost and digestate products and establish a European-wide product standard for quality compost and digestate. In doing so, ECN promotes European end-of-waste criteria for compost and digestate as well as for further recycled or recovered organic materials and to facilitate marketing recycled organic fertilisers, soil improvers and growing media across Europe.