Defra's latest update on End of Waste for composts and digestates
Richard Parsons, Nina Sweet and Sean Ryan at Defra recently met Bartosz Zambrzycki, the desk officer in the European Commission dealing with the Commission’s work on end of waste for biowaste on 29th September.
The main points that Defra noted were:
  • The Commission expect to receive the Joint Research Centre’s final report in October/November. 
  • Having invested heavily in the JRC’s work, it seems likely that the Commission will put forward a proposal based on the JRC report. Whether they proceed after that will depend on the reaction of Member States.
  • Arguments that the proposal will not deliver standardisation are unlikely to be successful. The Commission’s rationale for any proposal is that it would raise standards and help develop markets; they are not seeking perfection. They recognise that trade in compost and digestate across borders is likely to be very limited but nonetheless see merits in regulation which they believe will support markets.
  • They have been considering carefully the relationship with the fertilisers regulations. DG Enterprise are currently working on the Impact Assessment. There are several options for linking the work on end of waste and the fertiliser regulations. The most straightforward seems to be to complete the end of waste work and then refer to it within the fertiliser regulations though this has not been decided. 
  • Defra had some lengthy discussion about some of the areas of UK concern – e.g. the requirements on independent sampling, PAH sampling. Bartosz took Defra's points on board but at least in the first draft of a regulation he is likely to follow the JRC proposal. However, Defra suggested that an informal meeting with Member States before he drafts the proposal could be useful. Defra will follow this suggestion up to see if other Member States would welcome such a meeting.
  • Defra suggested that the JRC proposal might be transferred into guidance that Member States could draw on in developing their own criteria. This is not attractive to the Commission. If they decided not to proceed, they would regard the JRC document as providing sufficient guidance to Member States wanting to take forward their own criteria. 
  • Defra discussed whether if there was a regulation it might provide more of a framework for Member States to implement rather a set of prescriptive requirements. Bartosz seemed interested but not clear how this might work in practice. This is something we might explore with the Commission further.
    The Commission is sympathetic to the need for adequate transition periods for Member States that already have national criteria.
  • The ongoing EU waste review is looking to simplify and make more consistent how Member States report on recycling of municipal waste. This may clarify when biowaste will count as "recycled”.

Last update: 02/10/2013
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