Press Release: LIFE BIOBEST launches its mission to mainstream bio-waste practices in Europe to improve soil health
Brussels, Belgium – In response to the pressing need for efficient bio-waste management systems in Europe, LIFE BIOBEST is stepping forward to guide and mainstream the best bio-waste practices and policies across the EU. This groundbreaking initiative aims to pave the way for widespread and appropriate solutions in the bio-waste chain, from generation to treatment.
A mandatory separate collection of bio-waste will be entering into force by 31st December 2023 under the Waste Framework Directive, and it is expected that more bio-waste will need to be pushed in the direction of anaerobic digestion and composting. On top of this mounting pressure, Europe faces the urgent need to reduce landfilling of municipal waste, as outlined by the EU Landfill Directive. However, while prevention is the preferred option, not all bio-waste is preventable.
The task at hand is to ensure the development of bio-waste management best practices and the production of quality compost and digestate for soil applications, while minimising any negative effect and closing the loop in an effective way.
Consortium lead, ENT Foundation, says, “During the first six months, the BIOBEST Consortium has worked hard to set a strong foundation for the next two years. We have made wonderful progress in the analysis of the cross-cutting factors, legal framework, and statistical datasets of bio-waste management. We have assembled our Advisory Board and brought key stakeholders into the discussion. As a LIFE preparatory project addressing ad hoc legislative and policy priorities, our overall goal is to prepare the basis of EU guidance and standardisation on closing the gap in the biological cycle to enrich soils with high-quality compost collected from bio-waste.”
Bio-waste – defined as biodegradable garden, food, and kitchen waste – is a crosscutting resource linked to green energy, agriculture, and pollution, among many other policy sectors. But while compost and digestate are promising, the current state of European soils reveals that on average 45% of soils contain low organic matter content. This deficiency hampers the soil’s fertility, affecting agricultural productivity, nutrient availability, and soil structure.
Manon Jourdan, Implementation Officer at Zero Waste Europe, says, “Our soils hold the key to sustainable agriculture and thriving ecosystems, but overuse and poor land management practices threaten to deplete them. We urgently need to recognise the value of our organic waste, transform it into precious compost, and breathe new life into our soils.
“With LIFE BIOBEST, our mission is clear: to harness the untapped abundance of lost organic matter and bridge the gaps in the biological cycle. Yet, to achieve this, we must prioritise the development and widespread adoption of optimal bio-waste collection systems in the EU.”
Only around 25% of the generated bio-waste undergoes effective recycling into high-quality compost. The remaining portion, comprised of unsorted bio-waste, makes up a large amount of unusable compost. Refining the ways in which bio-waste is collected and sorted has huge potential, as an estimated 350-400 kg of compost can be generated per ton of bio-waste. Addressing this issue is crucial to maximising the benefits of bio-waste recycling and ensuring a healthy return to soil.
The LIFE BIOBEST project aims to identify and validate the current best practices and management instruments along the bio-waste management chain that allow the production of quality compost and digestate and establish a series of reference key performance indicators, based on the analysis of existing databases and experiences.
LIFE BIOBEST will create a comprehensive EU-wide guide along with two decision support tree guides for local and regional authorities to adapt bio-waste management models to their specific context, offering feasible best practices and management instruments to promote efficient collection and subsequent recycling of bio-waste into quality compost and digestate. Through interconnected co-creation meetings with relevant expert stakeholders of the sector, solutions will be provided to overcome the identified technical, regulatory, economic, and environmental barriers to widely adopt the proposed best practices.
The LIFE BIOBEST consortium, led by ENT Foundation in collaboration with the Italian Compost and Biogas Consortium, ACR+, European Compost Network, and Zero Waste Europe, is proud to undertake this 2.5-year LIFE Preparatory Project funded by the European Commission.
NOTES TO EDITOR
Link to the project page:
Waste Framework Directive definition of bio-waste:
– As defined under the Waste Framework Directive (WFD), bio-waste is biodegradable garden and park waste, food and kitchen waste from households, restaurants, caterers and retail premises, and comparable waste from food processing plants. It does not include forestry or agricultural residues, manure, sewerage, sludge, or other biodegradable waste.
#LIFEBIOBEST | #biowaste
Seán Flynn, Media Outreach & Communications Officer | [email protected]
Jack McQuibban, Head of Local Zero Waste Implementation | [email protected]
ABOUT THE PARTNERS
ACR+ is the Association of Cities and Regions for sustainable Resource management. We are an international network of cities and regions sharing the aim of promoting a sustainable resource management and accelerating the transition towards a circular economy on their territories and beyond. www.acrplus.org
The Italian Compost and Biogas Consortium (CIC) is a non-profit association gathering 144 members including composting and anaerobic digestion facilities. Considering its background and the good performance of Italy regarding bio-waste capture rate and quality compost, CIC is involved in activities EU-wide showcasing how the bio-waste value chain can return organic carbon to the soil while generating energy carriers and green jobs. www.compost.it
The European Compost Network (ECN) is a membership organisation with 66 members from 27 European Countries, promoting sustainable recycling practices in composting, anaerobic digestion and other biological treatment processes of organic resources. www.compostnetwork.info
ENT Foundation (ENT) is a research centre based in Barcelona and dedicated to the elaboration, analysis, and implementation of public environmental policies. ENT’s team is comprised of around 25 highly specialised consultants. www.ent.cat
Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) is the European network of communities, local leaders, experts, and change agents working towards eliminating waste in our society. We advocate for sustainable systems and redesigning our relationship with resources, to accelerate a just transition towards zero waste for the benefit of people and the planet. www.zerowasteeurope.eu