Proposals that could have subject digestate from anaerobic digestion and compost to end-of-waste criteria have been put on hold.
The European Union’s Joint Research Committee (JRC) had proposed end-of-waste criteria on the materials that would have involved a requirement to carry out laboratory tests for a range of pollutants that do not occur in compost from source separated inputs.
In the UK, digestate quality is assured by the REA Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BCS), which would have been undermined by the end-of-waste criteria.
Following lobbying from the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and others across Europe, the JRC will now take fresh evidence in February at a workshop in Seville.
REA head of biogas David Collins said: “We have lobbied hard on this issue, engaging with stakeholders both within the UK and across the EU. Introducing the proposals in their present form would have placed an unnecessary, and in many cases unaffordable, burden on the UK AD industry.
“The REA and REAL have worked for a long time with AfOR and WRAP to build confidence in UK digestate with the 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 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.”