Brussels — On 17 March, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal to revise the EU Fertilisers Regulation. FEAD welcomes the extension of the scope of the Fertilisers Regulation to organic fertilisers and the Commission’s attempt to create a level playing field between organic and inorganic fertilisers. Organic fertilisers contribute to a more circular economy: for example through phosphorus recovery, decreasing the need for primary raw materials and thereby also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The draft Regulation offers opportunities to increase end-user confidence in waste-derived fertilisers, by granting them product status and laying down EU-wide safety, quality and labelling requirements. FEAD supports the optional harmonisation approach adopted by the Commission as a way of easing the regulatory burden for cross-border trade of organic fertilisers without impacting negatively on existing well-functioning domestic markets.
In order to encourage operators to make wider use of the harmonised EU system, FEAD asks the Commission to assess new input materials which could be included in the Regulation in a timely manner. The inclusion of a variety of possible inputs (waste-derived materials) with strict limit values which can be marketed as “CE fertilisers” (declaration that they comply with the Regulation) will allow the industry to explore new components and to develop new processes to achieve the set limit values, hence promoting research and innovation.
Some changes will have to be made to the draft to reap the full benefits of the new Regulation, not least to make the nutrient requirements achievable for all product categories. Moreover, FEAD asks the Commission to assess whether the provision which prevents composting and anaerobic digestion plants from processing other input materials (those currently not allowed by the Regulation) is not too limiting. This would rule out a lot of the capacity to produce CE fertilisers given that many plants use different inputs, only some of which will qualify for the production of CE fertilisers.
FEAD submitted its preliminary comments on the proposal in the context of a stakeholder consultation conducted by the Commission which closed on 12 May.
Source: European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (FEAD)