ECN e.V.

Network for Organic Resources and Biological Treatment
23 March 2022
Joint Press Release I End Point in the Manufacturing Chain

In a loss for the Circular Economy, Fertilising Products containing animal by-products are frustrated from entering the Single Market under the Fertilising Products Regulation (FPR)

Regulation (EU) 2019/1009 (The Fertilising Products Regulation—FPR) foresees the use of animal by-products as components in EU Fertilising Products. However, before that can happen, relevant end points have to be defined under the Animal By-Products regulation [Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009].
When the FPR was agreed in 2019, the Commission was mandated to begin the process to define appropriate animal by-product end points by early 2020. To date, no such end points have been defined, and CMC 10 remains empty although the FPR will be applied starting 16 July 2022, and animal by-products represent one of the most important opportunities for the FPR to contribute to the Circular Economy.
At the end of February 2022, there was no indication of materials/processing methods that are likely to be covered by the proposed list of animal by-product end points for EU Fertilising Products or materials/processing methods that are likely to be excluded.
With the approaching application of the Fertilising Products Regulation (FPR) in mid-July 2022, industry is urgently seeking guidance on the possibility of placing animal-derived component materials (including manures) on the market in EU Fertilising Products under the FPR.
In addition to CMC 10, questions also remain about the use of animal by-products in composts, digestates and certain other fertilising product component materials (CMCs 3-5-12-13-14-15). As one example, manure (a Cat. 2 animal by-product) is a major input material for anaerobic digestion and represents the largest potential for increasing the circular use of nutrients. This requires urgent action to ensure regulatory clarity for operators and the possibility to recycle animal by-product nutrients to EU-fertilisers when the FPR enters into force four months from now.
Industry has been vocal since the beginning of the negotiations of Regulation (EU) 2019/1009 about the importance of animal by-products to increasing nutrient recycling significantly. An industry alliance already alerted the co-legislators and the European Commission to the importance of animal by-products for achieving the stated aims of the Fertilising Products Regulation in November 2017.
When the European Commission published the draft of the Fertilising Products Regulation in 2016, its main policy objective was clearly stated “to incentivise large scale fertiliser production in the EU from domestic organic or secondary raw materials in line with the circular economy model, by transforming waste into nutrients for crops. The proposal will provide a regulatory framework radically easing access to the internal market for such fertilisers.” As of today, this promise remains unfulfilled for fertilising products that contain animal by-products and derived materials.
Our industries are committed to contribute to the objectives of the Circular Economy; however, regulatory certainty is a key prerequisite for market actors to be able to do so. Incinerating and disposing of materials derived from animal by-products instead of upcycling and revalorising them as safe and effective fertilising are lost opportunities for the Circular Economy, greatly reducing system-wide nutrient-use efficiency.
Regulation (EC) 1069/2009 (the Animal By-Products Regulation recognises a number of treatment process that are used under national authorisation to place thousands of organic fertilisers, soil improvers, plant biostimulants, and growing media on the market every year. The materials resulting from these processes have a long history of safe use. For example, in 2018 (the latest official data available), 62,468 controls were conducted in Italy, with only nine cases requiring further investigation for possible contamination by pathogens, and all nine cases were finally determined to be negative for contamination.

The media release, jointly issued by 11 associations can be accessed here.

EU Commission Public Consultations

Eu Commission Logo
Waste Framework Directive

ECN demands a recycling target for separately collected municipal bio-waste

The Commission started the impact assessment (IA) that will accompany the legislative proposal in 2023. The Commission’s 4-week public consultation on its call for evidence for an IA closed on 22 February 2022. A total of 198 comments was submitted by stakeholders. ECNs answer to the consultation is available here.
As part of the consultation strategy, a 12-week open public consultation is planned for March 2022 but it could be delayed to April 2022. Moreover, DG ENV will carry out targeted consultations with major stakeholder groups focusing on the problem analysis, objectives and impacts.
In the official document for the consultation, the European Commission announced the main policy options that will be analyzed in the IA. On top of assessing the impact of strengthening enforcements of existing provisions and providing additional guidance, the European Commission will consider new regulatory developments, such as: introducing targets on waste reduction and/or residual waste reduction; expanding the role of EPR schemes in attaining waste-prevention objectives; clarifying and/or restricting the scope of derogations provided for in Article 10(3) WFD; introducing minimum requirements for source segregation and separate collection of waste that facilitates a separate collection of used items for re-use and the preparation for re-use and high-quality recycling of waste; reinforcing the “the polluter pays” principle by expanding EPR schemes to other product categories, like textiles and oils; improving enforcement of EPR requirements, in particular for products sold online to customers in the EU; setting waste oil collection and regeneration targets.
ECN has pointed out that the IA should further study the impact of setting a reduction target on the amount of bio-waste disposed in residual waste; and setting a recycling target for separately collected bio-waste. The ECN supports the development and introduction of minimum requirements for source segregation and separate collection for high quality recycling with the objective of avoiding contamination of recyclable waste. The ECN believes this measure will provide more clarity and certainty for the recyclers on the responsibilities and enforcement for quality concerns of bio-waste.
ECN is actively involved in the revision process and will take part in the next dedicated workshop on 30th March 2022. The workshop is organized by the contracted consultancy consortium for the IA (Ramboll, Eunomia, Arcadis, BIO Innovation Service, RDC Environment, Centre for European Policy Studies, VVA Brussels - contract and award notice available here).
Soil Health Law

Member States should be encouraged to reward the beneficial use of compost and digestate

The Commission started the impact assessment (IA) that will accompany the legislative proposal in 2023. The Commission launched a public consultation on the call for evidence for an IA on the expected Soil Health Law on 16 February 2022. ECN answer to the consultation is available here.
ECN is promoting soil health since 2018 when it started the international campaign initiative S.O.S. Save Organics in Soil, with the Italian Composting Association (CIC). ECN reiterates its support for establishing EU Common indicators and certification for soil health.
Compost and digestate are two organic recycled materials that are used as organic fertilizers and soil improvers in agriculture and horticulture, or as peat replacements in the growing media production. In 2017, 15.8 Mt of C&D from bio-waste (BW) recycling were manufactured in 18 countries. As Member States must introduce bio-waste separate collection at the latest on 31st December 2023, compost and digestate figures are set to grow.
Providing stable organic carbon with compost and digestate helps to maintain and replenish the content of soil organic matter. This recycled organic matter delivers a substrate for a diverse range of micro-organisms that form an essential part of a healthy soil ecosystem.
Degraded Soil that is low in organic matter is less productive, retains less water and stores less carbon. Soils with low levels of organic matter can be improved by regular applications of quality compost and digestate. More available quality compost and digestate and their correct use in agriculture will reduce the need for mineral nutrients for basic fertilization; considering the specific soil and climate conditions and the nutrient efficiency, nutrient losses can be reduced.
The European Commission should acknowledge the important climate and environmental benefits that regular applications of quality compost and digestate generate. We propose that the Soil Health Law (and therefore the CAP) should include a mechanism to encourage Member States to reward the use of compost and digestate and close the biological cycle in accordance with circular economy principles.

ECN position paper on Soil Organic Matter
Last year, ECN’s task group ‘Soil & Organic Matter’ laid down policy recommendations in its position paper ‘Organic matter for the preservation of soil health and fertility’. In particular, the ECN recommends that any policy protecting and improving soil and biodiversity should forecast long term programs coupled with appropriate rewards and incentive instruments. The Soil Strategy (and therefore the CAP) should include a mechanism to encourage Member States to reward the use of compost and digestate and close the biological cycle in accordance with circular economy principles. Moreover, ECN recommends that incentives should include appropriate training to farmers on the long-term benefits of soil health and the practical ways of assessing its quality.
Global Soil Partnership I FAO

Technical Manual on Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration published

The Global Soil Partnership (GSP) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has published a technical manual on developing maps on soil organic carbon sequestration.
Responding to a request for support in addressing the Sustainable Development Goal Indicators, especially Indicator 15.3 which includes the restoration of degraded soils, the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) Plenary Assembly in 2020 instructed the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) and the GSP Secretariat to develop the Global Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration Potential map (GSOCseq map), following the same country-driven approach developed for the Global Soil Organic Carbon map (GSOCmap). This ‘bottom-up’ approach is expected to generate a GSOCseq map from national SOCseq maps, developed and validated by local experts, based on the implementation of SOC models using standardized procedures and by leveraging the best available local data.
Titel Soil Carbon Sequestration
The GSOCseq Technical Manual guides soil experts on the implementation of SOC models using standardized procedures and leveraging the best available local data to develop and validate national SOCseq maps. The GSOCseq Technical Manual can be downloaded here.

News from EU Projects

Tech4Biowaste Project

A dynamic database of relevant technologies of biowaste utilization set up

The Tech4Biowaste project aims to provide the bio-based industry with a complete overview of existing and emerging technologies with a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4 and higher for biowaste utilisation and valorisation.
The technology database provides information and technical details on the technologies for interested stakeholders and provide a platform for technology providers to show established and innovative technologies.
If you want your biowaste technology to be included in the database, please join the coaching sessions on ‘how to add your technology to the database’ on Monday 4 April – 14:00 CEST or Tuesday 19 April – 14:00 CEST. Please register via a short email to

The project video ‘Get Your Technology out of the Dark’ can be accessed here.
FOODRUS Project I Survey

Survey on Barriers to Food Loss and Food Waste Prevention

Within the FOODRUS project a survey on the identification of legal, economic, technical and system barriers to Food Losses (FL) and Food Waste (FW) prevention was launched.

The survey aims to engage Food Value Chain actors in the identification of the most common limiting factor producing Food Losses and Food Waste across Europe. It does so by assessing barriers on multiple levels, looking at legal and economic factors, as wells as technical, behavioral and wider system constraints.
Results of the survey will be used to prepare policy recommendations for national and European legislators with a twofold aim:
  • address existing current legal impediments at European, national and regional level on the prevention of food losses and food waste;
  • define policy recommendations that can help address the economic and behavioral aspects of food loss and food waste through new legislation.
The results from the survey will be available on the project website

This survey has been prepared by ACR+, a partner of the FOODRUS project.


EU Green Week I 30 May – 5 June 2022

Sustainable Transformation towards a resource-efficient and climate-neutral Europe by 2050

EU Green Week is an annual opportunity to debate European environmental policy with policymakers, leading environmentalists and stakeholders from Europe and beyond. This year's edition focuses on the European Green Deal - the EU’s sustainable and transformative growth strategy for a resource-efficient and climate-neutral Europe by 2050.
EU Green Week 2022 will take place from 30 May to 5 June 2022. The main hybrid event on 31 May puts three important aspects of the transformation in the spotlight – circular economy, zero pollution, and biodiversity. Throughout the week, partner events will be taking place across Europe and beyond.
The programme of the EU Green Week 2022 can be accessed here.

How to launch Partner Events?
Partner Events must be related to this year’s theme, EU Green Deal – Make It Real, which covers a wide range of topics and sectors, from industry and new technologies to biodiversity and climate change. The main idea behind this is to raise awareness and involvement among a maximum number of stakeholders and anyone interested in environmental protection at local, regional and national levels.

The deadline for registration of a Partner Event is 15 April 2022.
Green Week
European Soil Observatory I 20-22 June 2022

Workshop on “Soil erosion for Europe – Emerging challenges”

The European Soil Observatory Working Group on Soil Erosion organises a 3-days workshop “Workshop on soil erosion for Europe – Emerging challenges”, on 20-22 June 2022.

This is a call for presentations at this workshop. If you are interested to present your work relevant to the proposed sessions, please send your proposal with a tentative title (and 5-10 lines of abstract) to one of the nine Session Chairs (mentioned in the flyer). One session will focus on Soil organic carbon and erosion integration. The event will be online.
Global Soil Partnership I 26-29 July 2022 I 12:00-15:00 CEST I Virtual

Soils for Nutrition Symposium: Call for abstracts

What is the state of soil fertility? What kind of data is available for practitioners? What is the relation between soil fertility and human nutrition? The Global Symposium on Soils for Nutrition will answer this and other questions!
Soil for Nutrition Synapsium
The Organizing Committee of the Global Symposium on Soils for Nutrition (GSOIL4N) is currently accepting abstracts that will compete for oral and poster presentations during this symposium. The abstracts should be submitted in English, maximum 3.000 characters (without spaces).Abstracts should address one of the following symposium themes:
  • Theme 1: Status and trends of global soil nutrient budget;
  • Theme 2: Sustainable soil management for food security and better nutrition; 
  • Theme 3: Impacts of soil nutrient management on the environment and climate change;
  • Theme 4: Governance of soil fertility/soil nutrients.  
The deadline for submission of abstracts is 30 April 2022.

Website and registration link available soon!

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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