ECN calls the European Parliament to keep composting and anaerobic digestion of biowaste out of the scope of the EU Emission Trading System

The inclusion of anaerobic digestion and composting in the EU Emission Trading System (EU-ETS) (2003/87/EC) would undermine more than 20 years of efforts to introduce efficiently separate collection and treatment of biowaste. As a consequence, it will significantly weaken high quality recycling of biowaste for biogas, digestate and compost production.

High quality recycling of biowaste is crucial to achieve the 55% GHG emission reduction target by 2030. Additionally, without separate collection and recycling of biowaste, it will be impossible for Member States to achieve the recycling targets and the Farm to Fork targets.

The ongoing geopolitical concerns about energy security and related energy costs, as well as fertilizer price developments, also require a significant increase in the high-quality recycling of biowaste. Biowaste is an important resource for sustainable nutrients and organic matter.

Composting and anaerobic digestion are essential in attaining the objectives of the EU Green Deal in terms of increasing reliance on green energy, reducing EU’s carbon footprint, saving resources and contributing to carbon sequestration.

The policies under the EU Green Deal are designed to promote the circular economy and generate valuable biobased energy, organic fertilizers and soil improvers, which replace mineral fertilizers, maintain and increase organic matter in soils and replace peat in growing media. Keeping biowaste away from landfills saving resources and energy and sequestering carbon in soil will save CO2 and will contribute to fight against climate change.

ECN urges the Environmental Committee of the European Parliament not to include biowaste management under the EU-ETS, as this would counteract the objectives of recycling of nutrients and organic matter, and the goals of an effective transition to a circular economy.



The proposal was presented as part of the Fit for 55 package on 14 July 2021, a broader legislative package aimed at aligning relevant legislation to an increased 2030 emissions reduction target.

European Emission Trading System (EU-ETS) is under discussion in the EU Parliament. The vote on the draft report of the ENVI Committee of the European Parliament and the amendments will take place on 16 May 2022.

The ECN position paper can be accessed here.