Circular economy: using waste as fertilising products
Promoting increased use of recycled nutrients would help to develop a circular economy and allow for a more resource-efficient overall use of nutrients, but attention needs to be paid to the heavy metal contamination of fertilising products.

Regulation (EC) No 2019/1009, which will be applied as of 16 June 2022, aims to effectively regulate and open the single market for the marketing of fertilising products. The marketing of fertilisers on the internal market has been partially harmonised by the current Regulation (EC) No 2003/2003 , which applies almost exclusively to inorganic fertilisers, in which the declared nutrients are in the form of minerals obtained by extraction or by physical and/or chemical industrial processes.

However, there is also a need to use recycled or organic materials for fertilisation. In order to encourage the continued use of such recycled or organic fertilisers, harmonised conditions for their distribution throughout the internal market should be established. Promoting the increased use of recycled nutrients would contribute to the development of a circular economy and allow for a more resource-efficient overall use of nutrients, while reducing the EU's dependence on nutrients from third countries. The scope of harmonisation should therefore be extended to cover reprocessed and organic materials.

To improve nutrient utilisation, certain materials are used in combination with fertilisers, which has the advantage of reducing the amount of fertiliser used and therefore the environmental impact. It is therefore appropriate that harmonisation should cover not only fertilisers, i.e. substances that supply nutrients to plants, but also substances that improve nutrient use, so that harmonisation would facilitate the free movement of the substances concerned on the internal market.

The new Regulation introduces limits for toxic contaminants for the first time. This will guarantee a high level of soil protection and reduce health and environmental risks while allowing producers to adapt their manufacturing process to comply with the new limits. It also lays down common rules on safety, quality and labelling requirements for fertilising products.

Apatite-type minerals from Africa, which are the raw material for EC phosphate fertilisers, have a high cadmium content. The high arsenic content of Hungarian peat compost may pose a risk due to the genetic profiles of our soils.

The application of the new EC Regulation is expected to lead to a "dilution" of domestic regulation, which in many cases will justify a review of the monitoring strategy. It is of particular importance to know the cadmium content of EC phosphate fertilisers and the arsenic content in Hungarian peat composts. There is a need to monitor sludge containing substances, persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals in particular. In addition, based on the chain approach, consideration should be given to redesigning heavy metal sampling further down the food chain and reviewing the associated risk management procedures.


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