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The European Commission has published its third report towards criteria for using “By-Products” as Component Materials for EU fertilising products (CMC11, additives and CMC-WWfor comment by 16th August 2021, under the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation 2019/100). The 180-page document now proposes detailed criteria for which families of by-product would be eligible, with proposed quality/purity criteria, contaminant limits, process input material exclusions, etc. This will be discussed at the EU Fertilisers Expert Group 24-25 June, at which ESPP is represented.

The following summarises ESPP’s understanding of the JRC proposal after a first reading – it may not be correct. We will try to verify whether our understanding is correct and publish an updated summary and proposed comments and input in coming weeks.

The new proposal is significantly narrower than was suggested in March this year (CMC-WW initial proposal, see ESPP eNews n°53). ESPP’s request to widen to “derivates” (see ESPP eNews n°54), that is the eligible by-products can only be included in an EU fertilising product with no further chemical processing, they cannot be used as a precursor to produce other materials (note that by-products can be used as precursors in CMC1, but not if they have “waste” status).

The new JRC proposal is somewhat complex, with four different routes:

Routes (1) and (2) are subject to the requirements that (a) the material must be a “by-product” as defined under the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC, (b) Animal By-Products, polymers, compost and digestate are excluded, and (c) the material must be REACH registered (with conditions). For routes (1) and (2) a specific list of contaminant limits is defined.

(1) By-products from seven specified industrial processes: methionine, mineral ore processing (this category includes by-product gypsums and phosphogypsums), Solvay process, acetylene production, ferrous slags, specific metal treatments, humic/fulvic acids from drinking water treatment;

(2) (any) by-product used as a “technical additive” at <5% total in the final EU fertilising product.

Routes (3) and (4) are “CMC-WW High Purity Materials”, which was originally proposed in March this year (see ESPP eNews n°54). This proposal has been significantly narrowed and now covers ONLY mineral salts of ammonia, sulphur (inc. elemental sulphur), calcium carbonate or calcium oxide, subject to 95% purity and organic carbon < 0.5%. These mineral salts must also respect a detailed and extensive limits of contaminant limits, and must be REACH registered (with conditions). They can result from:

(3) any “production” process, to which inputs can be any material (chemicals, biomass, waste …) other than Animal By-Products

(4) gas purification from (to simplify): hygienised manure, livestock housing, storage of non-hygienised manure, non-hazardous wastes or any other material except Animal By-Products

European Commission JRC “Technical proposals for by-products and high purity materials as component materials for EU Fertilising Products. Interim report”, 14 June 2021

Comments are open to 16th August but can only be submitted via members of the EU Fertilisers Expert Group. Please therefore send all comments to ESPP  before 16th July, in order to enable them to be taken into account.

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