Circular Economy should enhance the uptake of recycled nutrients – says the European Parliament

On Wednesday 27 January 2021, ENVI committee of the European Parliament adopted an own-initiative report on the New Circular Economy Action Plan calling on the European Commission to support farmers to replace mineral fertilizers with compost and digestate.

The European Biogas Association welcomes the positive vote of the ENVI Committee on its own-initiative report on the New Circular Economy Action Plan. The EBA supports the report’s recommendations to enhance recycle and reuse of nutrients in farming and agriculture.

“We have to create a level playing field” said MEP Jan Huitema Rapporteur of the ENVI Committee “or we even have to give a plus to secondary raw materials so to reward their use”. The circular economy is not only a key model to protect the environment and reduce pollution of air, water and soil. It also allows countries to be less dependent on imports and it reduces the need to mine raw materials.

An own-initiative report of the European Parliament is not legally binding but is a very useful indicator of the European Parliament’s priorities and concerns and it contains official calls on the European Commission to take action. In February, the European Parliament Plenary will vote on the report adopted yesterday by the ENVI Committee.

The EBA is the leading voice of the renewable gas sector in Brussels and it offers unique insights to policymakers and stakeholders on the actual and projected capacity of renewable gas towards 2030. Renewable gas, coupled with sustainable manure management, recycle and reuse of nutrients and agro-ecology innovation to protect soil health, quality and fertility is recognised as a paramount solution in the circular economy of the European Green Deal.

2021 and 2022 are two crucial years to give real shape to the principles and objective outlined in the Communication of the European Commission on the European Green Deal. The European Commission is expected to table very important proposals to amend the current rules on renewable energy and emissions from the land use sector. It will also propose new rules to tackle methane emissions from the energy sector and it will attend the negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council on the new Common Agricultural Policy.

The own-initiative report clearly highlights that soil health and resource-efficiency must be addressed in these proposals and it recognizes renewable energy and recycling as two important solutions that the European Commission should better support in the next years. Mineral and synthetic fertilizers should be replaced by more natural recycled materials, such as compost and digestate. Manure should be collected and treated to recover nutrients and ensure protection of environment and the ecosystems.