Existing EU rules on fertilisers cover mainly conventional fertilisers, typically extracted from mines or produced chemically, with high energy-consumption and CO2 production. Diverging national rules make it difficult for producers of organic fertilisers to sell and use them across the EU single market. The new legislation, provisionally agreed on Tuesday:
- promotes increased use of recycled materials for producing fertilisers, thus helping to develop the circular economy, while reducing dependence on imported nutrients,
- eases market access for innovative, organic fertilisers, which would give farmers and consumers a wider choice and promote green innovation,
- establishes EU-wide quality, safety and environmental criteria for “EU” fertilisers (i.e. those which can be traded in the whole EU single market).
The provisional agreement still needs to be confirmed by the EU member states’ ambassadors (Coreper) and by Parliament’s Internal Market Committee. The draft regulation will then be put to a vote by the full Parliament in an upcoming plenary session and formally approved by the EU Council of Ministers.
Currently, only 5% of waste organic material is recycled and used as fertilisers. According to estimates, if more biowaste was recycled, it could replace up to 30% of non-organic fertilisers.
The EU imports more than 6 million tonnes of phosphate rock a year, but it could recover up to 2 million tonnes of phosphorus from sewage sludge, biodegradable waste, meat and bone meal or manure, according to the Commission.
Nearly half of the fertilisers on the EU market are not covered by the existing legislation. The new one, which will replace the current 2003 Fertilisers Regulation, includes all types of fertilisers (mineral, organic, soil improvers, growing matters, etc.).
“EU” fertilisers need to meet all the quality, safety and labelling requirements under EU rules and can be traded freely across the EU single market.
Tuesday November 20, 2018/ EP/ European Union.