This official document released by the European Commission last Thursday is an important element of the EU’s Circular Economy Strategy and has as core objective “to incentivise large scale fertiliser production in the EU from domestic organic or secondary raw materials”.
In this Roadmap, the European Commission underlines the challenge of heavily relying on inorganic fertilisers that typically follow a linear model, which are typically extracted from mines and often cause high CO2 emissions. Organic fertilisers, such as digestate and compost, are identified as very promising alternatives to move towards a sustainable agricultural model that recycles nutrients following the principles of a circular economy. The roadmap identifies as obstacles to large scale deployment the “existence of diverging national rules and standards” that fragment the European market of organic fertilisers.
The revision of the Fertilisers Regulation will include mandatory European safety and product requirements for organic fertilisers which will enable intra-EU trade. At the same time, the Commission proposal is expected to leave the option to member states to apply their own rules when organic fertilisers are produced and sold nationally, thereby minimising negative impacts to small-scale local producers.
The European Commission is currently carrying out an internal inter-service consultation on this topic and is expected to publish its official proposal in 2016 to revise the EU’s Fertilisers Regulation. EBA will be following this policy file very closely, working together with the European institutions, to have a solid regulatory framework that ensures digestate’s place in the marketplace.