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EA opens consultation on PLA

A consultation on the end of waste for poultry litter ash (PLA) has opened so that it can be used as an agricultural fertiliser. The document, which will be open for discussion for 12 weeks, asks industry to analyse the proposed measures which will see PLA taken out of the waste regulations.

It suggests that PLA will normally be regarded as having ceased to be waste provided it: requires no further processing before use; that it meets the requirements of the industry standard, including controls on inputs and any additional specification specified by the customer; and is destined for use as an agricultural fertiliser.

PLA could only be stored temporarily to comply with the quality protocol, otherwise it is classed as waste. Furthermore, the PLA can only comprise poultry litter, forestry waste, horse bedding, pet food, feathers and any other high calorific alternative fuel types. According to the Environment Agency (EA), it was necessary to restrict the materials that can be used in the combustion process to ensure consistency in ash composition.

EA head of environment and business partnerships Martin Brocklehurst said: “Waste is a valuable resource and as the world’s resources diminish, it’s important that we look at ways to divert more waste materials from landfill and turn them into quality products.”

Currently, PLA is classed as a waste produced once poultry litter, feathers and straw have been burned in biomass facilities to generate energy.

But PLA is an increasingly rare natural source of phosphate, so WRAP and the EA are working with industry to determine whether it can be removed from waste control and used as an agricultural fertiliser under a quality protocol.

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