The ‘End-of-Waste’ proposals would have subjected compost and digestate from anaerobic digestion (AD) to testing which many sector organisations, including the Renewable Energy Association (REA), considered to be expensive and burdensome. Digestate is produced by AD processes and can be used as an organic fertiliser provided it is certified free of organic pollutants. In the UK it is certified and assured by the REA Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BCS).
The REA however has lobbied for reconsideration of the proposals because at present would they undermine the confidence that industry has built up in the organics recycling and food retail sectors with the BCS. This would subsequently have imposed unnecessary administrative and regulatory burdens on UK producers of compost and digestate, including the requirement to carry out laboratory tests for a range of pollutants from mixed wastes which simply do not occur in compost or digestate from source-separated inputs.
“Introducing the proposals in their present form would have placed an unnecessary, and in many cases unaffordable, burden on the UK AD industry” said REA Head of Biogas David Collins. “The REA and REAL have worked for a long time with AfOR and WRAP to build confidence in UK digestate with the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BCS). This targeted scheme enables biogas businesses to simply and cost-effectively assure the quality of their digestate.The development of a market for quality certified digestate and maximising its cash value as a biofertiliser is a vital part of the commercial equation. The End of Waste proposals however would subject all wastes intended for recycling – from biogas digestate to the products of mechanical biological treatment (MBT) and even sewage – to the same extensive set of costly and largely unnecessary lab tests.We have successfully communicated the message to Brussels that one size does not fit all, and we are looking forward to contributing to the development of targeted End-of-Waste policies at the Seville workshop in February.”
The Seville discussion in February will examine issues such as product quality criteria, limitation values for organic pollutants, the use of standard horizontal analysis methods, the eligibility of mixed municipal waste and other items and various topics concerning impact on the markets.