The Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BCS) for UK anaerobic digestion operators has reported a record 67 participants as of December as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.
The scheme is available to assure the safety and quality of digestate and assist operators in raising their profile within the environment sector.
It can also reduce costs for operators and covers the process straight through from input all the way through to digestate quality.
BCS certified digestate is widely recognised as high quality and safe by environmental regulators. It thus offers an opportunity for AD operators looking for a reliable market for the digestate they produce.
The BCS is said to assure the quality of anaerobic digestion processes and anaerobic digestate. It is an independent certification scheme based on the BSI PAS110:2014 quality standard for all types of AD operations.
It is essential that farmers, land managers, farm assurance schemes, retailers, and consumers can be certain that anaerobic digestate spread to land is consistently safe and of good quality.
The BCS quality assurance standards provide all stakeholders with these essential guarantees by certifying that the production process is appropriate and well-managed, based on a robust quality management system, that it is sourced only from permitted feedstocks, and that it has been produced in a hygienic manner.
The scheme has reported a significant growth in membership, having grown from 3 plants in 2011, which was its fifth year of operation.
“This year AD operators can give themselves the gift of a competitive edge for the New Year by signing up to this scheme that covers the process from production to end-of-waste,” said Virginia Graham, Chief Executive of Renewable Energy Assurance Limited (REAL).
“This holiday season we’re celebrating the Scheme’s tenth anniversary, and in that decade the AD market has changed completely,” she continued.
“Throughout the life of the BCS we have ensured that the scheme is robust by working closely with UKAS, certification bodies and laboratories. We look forward to driving the development of the BCS further as this thriving industry continues to grow and evolve,” concluded Graham.
David Collins, former Senior Biogas Advisor to the Renewable Energy Association (REA) added: “When REAL set up the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme ten years ago, it was to give confidence to farmers and other users that food grown on soil, using quality digestate as a fertiliser, was safe for consumption and compliant with the stringent demands of their buyers. That hard won trust from an initially sceptical market was built gradually through rigorous third party inspection and a well-run scheme.
“Cheaper compromises in certification have always been available but while trust takes years to build, breaches in quality have an immediate and disastrous effect across the entire industry.”
Bryan Lewens, FACTS and WAMITAB Qualified Landspreading Advisor commented:
“I managed the use of digestate on land for agricultural benefit for 12 years and was highly appreciative of the efforts that went into developing and then reviewing the PAS110/ADQP.
“Managing digestate under "Waste regulations" was costly and complicated to administer. The ability to market digestate as a product that met a standard gave farmers added confidence to use digestate as a fertiliser.
“The work done by WRAP in providing guidance on its use and the comprehensive risk assessments carried out on a wide range of hazards has also been a great help in allaying any concerns farmers may have had.”
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