Members of the European Parliament exchange information with soil and compost experts, farmers and winegrowers
13 October 2020: Members of the European Parliament heard how bio-waste can be better recycled, soil fertility maintained and climate change mitigated at an online event1 organised by the European Compost Network (ECN) co-hosted by MEP Franc Bogovič (EPP, Slovenia) and Elsi Katainen (Renew Europe, Finland). By working together, farmers, soil scientists, waste-operators, policymakers and any other interested stakeholders can ensure a better future for the next generation, where soil health is restored and conserved.
During the event, panellists outlined good practice examples of the circular economy in action that, thanks to the use of recycled compost, improve both the quality and health of Europe’s soils and also help mitigate climate change2. Compost recycled from bio-waste can be effectively used as an organic soil improver. On average, one tonne of fresh compost contains 300 kg of organic matter. Application of 30 tonnes of fresh compost per hectare per year will return nine tonnes of organic matter to the soil.
More than 80 delegates joined the webinar ‘Save organics in soil – biological cycle and sustainable agriculture’. The day showed that policymakers, economic operators, research centres and civil society share an interest in establishing an open dialogue with all key stakeholders. Keep soil healthy, carbon sequestration and awareness raising are the key words that emerged during the contributions and that indicate the way forward to 2030. All participants recognised that the challenges of maintaining soil quality are of paramount importance in realising the vision of the European Green Deal3, in which Europe achieve net-zero CO2 emissions. Soil is recognised as a means to store some of the excess greenhouse gases that our systems have not been able to abate. The operators of the agriculture sector are at the forefront of turning the challenges into opportunities and some of them shared their story of using recycled compost to offset mineral fertilisers, restore the quality of soil and close the biological cycle.
The speakers came from different sectors: policymaking; waste management; soil science; agriculture and viticulture. They were, Mr Mirco Barbero (European Commission); MEP Franc Bogovič, Mr Marco Giacomazzi (European Compost Network), Ms Jane Gilbert (International Solid Waste Association), MEP Elsi Katainen; Mr Luca Montanarella (European Commission) and Mr João Vasconcelos Porto (Sogrape Vinhos Portugal).
The full press release can be downloaded here.
The programme and the presentations of the event can be assessed here.