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Does REACH apply to digestate? - Latest update

The ORG have received a communication from the European Sustainable Phosphorous Platform via the European Compost Network that whilst it does not guarantee that digestate will become exempt from REACH in future is very encouraging because the Commission is keen to make updates to Annex V that will exempt it.

The below information was in a letter from DG ENTR in response from a request from the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform to exempt digestate and recovered phosphorus substances from REACH.

'Digestates originating from the production of biogas are considered generated waste and therefore fall within the scope of the waste legislation. Such digestates are, consequently, exempt from the obligations set out in Article 6 of REACH; notably that of registration.  

The question of whether REACH registration would be applicable to digestates, in the event they would cease to be waste through the application of end-of-waste criteria, has been subject to considerable debate within the Commission and with Member States, most recently at the 15th Meeting of Competent Authorities for REACH and CLP (CARACAL) held on 8-9 July 2014.

Views on whether the existing entries in Annex V to REACH could be interpreted to also cover digestates differ among Member States. However, in discussions on future policy, there appears to be broad support to assimilating the situation of digestates to that of compost, thereby considering that digestate, when covered by the scope of REACH, should be exempted from registration obligations under Title II of REACH. 

The Commission will consider the input which is still being received from Member States on this issue and will examine all options to bring clarity to the situation of digestates, including the possibility of amending entry 12 of Annex V to align the situation of digestates with that of compost, within the shortest possible time. 
The situation of manure, which you also mention in your letter, has been brought to our attention by some Member States and requires detailed assessment. Further progress on this matter is expected in coming CARACAL meetings, and further input from stakeholders will of course be welcome.'


We will keep you updated when we hear anything further.

Updated: 22/01/15
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