Commission Presents First Deliverable of Circular Economy Package

New EU Rules to Ease Waste Based Fertiliser Market

The European Commission has proposed a new Regulation that make access of organic and waste based fertilisers to the EU single market easier, putting them on a level playing field with traditional, non-organic fertilisers.

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The European Commission has proposed a new Regulation that make access of organic and waste based fertilisers to the EU single market easier, putting them on a level playing field with traditional, non-organic fertilisers.

The  Commission explained that the reuse of raw materials that are now disposed as waste is one of the key principles of the Circular Economy Package adopted in December 2015.

Very few of the abundant bio-waste resources are transformed into valuable fertilising products,” explained Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness. 

"Our farmers are using fertilisers manufactured from imported resources or from energy-intensive processes although our industry could valorise these bio-wastes in recycled nutrients,” he continued. “This Regulation will help us turn problems into opportunities for farmers and businesses."

According to the Regulation will create new market opportunities for innovative companies while at the same time reducing waste, energy consumption and environmental damage.

The Regulation sets out common rules on converting biowaste into raw materials that can be used to manufacture fertilising products. It also defines safety, quality and labelling requirements that all fertilising products need to comply with to be traded freely across the EU.

CE mark

Under the Regulation producers will have to demonstrate that their products meet those requirements, as well as limits for organic contaminants, microbial contaminants and physical impurities before affixing the CE mark that will allow them to trade freely across the EU.

The Commission explained that the new rules will apply to all types of fertilisers to guarantee the highest levels of soil protection.

The Regulation introduces strict limits for cadmium in phosphate fertilisers. The limits will be tightened from 60 mg/kg to 40 mg/kg after 3 years, and to 20 mg/kg after 12 years, reducing the risks for health and environment.

The Commission has proposed optional harmonisation: depending on their business strategy and type of product, manufacturers can either choose to CE mark their product, making it freely tradable in the single market according to common European rules, or have it traded according to national standards based on mutual recognition in the single market.

This is intended to ensure that the principles of better regulation and subsidiarity are taken into account.

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