The Commission is launching a consultation on how to use phosphorus in a more sustainable way. Phosphorus is widely used in agriculture and is an essential component in fertiliser and animal feed, but it is a resource which has no substitute. Supplies are limited, prices have been volatile and much phosphorus is currently wasted, creating concerns about the cost and availability of future supplies in the EU and worldwide.
The consultation asks how to ensure that reserves are available for future generations, and about ways to minimise the undesirable side effects phosphorus use can have on the environment.
The consultation aims to launch a debate on phosphorus use and ways to make it more resource-efficient. The Communication is not designed with specific legislation on phosphorus in mind, but invites the European Institutions and all interested stakeholders to comment on the issue.
A number of options that could improve the current situation are suggested, such as using fertiliser and feed in a more targeted way, reducing soil erosion, and encouraging recycling of phosphorus from manure, waste water and compost. Contributors are invited to reflect on what could be done to encourage recovery from other sources, such as food and biodegradable waste.
The consultation also asks for views on how to tackle the issues of demand and supply, how to handle the risk of soil contamination, and which technologies or innovations should be promoted to improve the sustainable use of phosphorus.
The European Parliament, the Council and other European institutions, citizens, public authorities, NGOs and businesses are welcome to contribute their views until 1 December 2013. The Commission will analyse the contributions in the course of 2014. It will integrate the results of this work into pertinent policy areas, from agricultural policy through water and waste to work on raw materials.
Monday July 8, 2013/ EC/ European Union.