EU Parliament committee recommends innovative and greener fertilisers from waste

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Düngersäcke (Foto: alzi_800 / Pixabay)

Brussels — Innovative fertilisers produced from organic or recycled materials will have easier access to the EU single market, under draft rules put to the vote by the EU Parliament`s Internal Market Committee. Existing EU rules on fertilisers cover mainly conventional fertilisers, typically extracted from mines or produced chemically, with high energy-consumption and CO2 production. Diverging national rules make it difficult for producers of organic fertilisers to sell and use them across the EU single market.

The rules approved in the Internal Market Committee would:

  • promote increased use of recycled materials for producing fertilisers, thus helping the development of the circular economy, while reducing dependency on imported nutrients,
  • ease market access for innovative, organic fertilisers, which would give farmers and consumers a wider choice and promote green innovation,
  • establish EU-wide quality, safety and environmental criteria for “CE marked” fertilisers (i.e. those which can be traded in the whole EU single market),
  • provide for clearer labelling requirements to better inform farmers and consumers,
  • keep the option for producers not willing to sell their products on the whole EU market to comply with national rules instead (member states would remain free to allow fertilisers not complying with these EU-wide requirements into their national markets).

Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz, Internal Market Committee rapporteur, said: “The main policy objective of my report is to incentivise large-scale plant nutrition 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 regulatory technique chosen in my proposal leaves economic operators maximum flexibility to put new products on the internal market without compromising on safety and quality”.

Currently, only 5 percent of waste organic material is recycled and used as fertilisers, but recycled bio-waste could substitute up to 30 percent of mineral fertilisers. The EU imports more than 6 million tonnes of phosphate rock a year, but it could recover up to 2 million tonnes of phosphorus from sewage sludge, biodegradable waste, meat and bone meal or manure, according to the Commission. Nearly half of the fertilisers on the EU market are not covered by the existing regulation.

It is expected to be voted by the full House in the 2-5 October plenary session, before the start of negotiations with EU ministers. The Council (member states) has yet to agree on a position on this file.

Source: European Parliament