We have seen in the past weeks positive outputs in the negotiations of biowaste recovery related policies. EBA is involved in different working groups to ensure the perspective of the biogas industry is adequately considered and to promote the removal of legal uncertainties and barriers concerning the use of digestate and the production of bio-fertilisers. We have prepared for you a compilation of the latest updates on this field.
Digestate exempted from REACH
The amendment of Annex V to the REACH regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) now includes ‘digestate’ in the list of substances that are exempt from the obligation to register. This should remove uncertainties encountered by producers and users of digestate and by enforcement authorities.
The text now defines digestate as a residual semisolid or liquid material that has been sanitised and stabilised by a biological treatment process, of which the last step is an anaerobic digestion step, and where the inputs used in that process are biodegradable materials originating only from non-hazardous source segregated materials, such as food waste, manure and energy crops.
EU fertilising products Regulation has entered into force
The new EU fertiliser Regulation entered into force on 15 July and will apply in full from 16 July 2022. The Regulation will facilitate the access of organic and waste-based fertilisers to the EU Single Market, thus opening up possibilities for a new range of bio-based fertilisers and products.
The conclusions of the STRUBIAS technical working group on nutrient recovery should be published soon and, in all likelihood, these materials will be added to the Regulation’s annexes at a later date.
Until now, only non-organic fertilisers could be freely traded across the EU. According to estimates, if more bio-waste was recycled, it could replace up to 30 % of non-organic fertilisers and considerably reduce EU dependence on fertiliser imports.
The EBA has been actively involved in the discussions and the Technical Working Group preparing the new Regulation, which will enable the commercialisation of digestate and fermentation products obtained from biogas as fertilisers. In October 2018, the EBA and other EU organisations addressed a joint letter to the EU representatives involved in the development of the new Regulation urging them to finalise the trialogue negotiations.
The text is available in all official languages: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:L:2019:170:TOC
SA BREF kick-off meeting
The EBA was invited by the European Commission to share its expertise at the kick-off meeting to the Slaughterhouses and Animals By-products Industries BREF (expert group) which was held in Seville from the 25th to the 28th of June 2019.
The preliminary conclusions of the Technical Working Group are looking positive as it was agreed that composting and anaerobic digestion would fall under the scope of the SA BREF only when these activities are directly associated with the Slaughterhouses and Animals By-products Industries installation. In other words, the SA BREF aims to target specific feedstocks for activities that compost or digest these materials on-site. De facto, this would exclude most anaerobic digestion and composting plants. These would fall under the WT BREF, which already covers anaerobic digestion and composting of more conventional feedstocks.