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UK a ‘lone voice’ in opposing EU end-of-waste regulations

A coalition of biodegradable waste trade bodies has told the European Commission (EC) that plans to impose end-of-waste (EoW) on all member states are “disproportionate” and will lead to increased costs to businesses.

In November, it emerged the EC’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry wanted to standardise rules for compost and digestate products made from biodegradable wastes.

As MRW exclusively reported, UK organics recyclers were alarmed that the proposed changes to EU fertiliser regulations would supersede the UK’s existing EoW certification schemes, which are under the PAS100 and PAS110 standards and their respective quality protocols.

Veolia, which runs a compost business, warned the new regulations would lower standards for organic fertilisers, allowing substandard material to be imported to the UK.

The EC has now been sent detailed criticism by a coalition including the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA), the Environmental Services Association and the Renewable Energy Association. The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management also lent its endorsement.

The document said the UK’s certification scheme had played a “hugely important role in establishing markets and improving quality”.

It pointed out that contracts for treating source separated biodegradable waste in Scotland and Wales required compliance with the UK PAS regime in order to prove recycling tonnage. In addition, contracts in England also ‘often require compliance’.

It said: “If our UK EoW criteria become superseded by EU level EoW criteria this will incur time and costs switching to the new criteria (contractual renegotiations, training, labelling etc), which will mean contracts having to be renegotiated, with any subsequent costs.”

Other concerns include the variability between EU member states’ industry feedstock and products.

The coalition said if the fertiliser regulations do change, no minimum nutrient concentration requirements should be set as feedstock varies both seasonally and year-to-year.  

ADBA policy manager Matt Hindle said: “The UK’s remains close to a lone voice in opposing the regulations, which we understand are still supported by most member states and by the European trade bodies. Views from different countries should become more clear following meetings, at which point we will be better able to assess possible timescales and the likelihood of changes.”

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