Digestate to become officially exempt from REACH registration

The European Biogas Association has informed us that, in mid February, the relevant EU regulatory committee unanimously decided that digestate should be included in Annex V of the REACH Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006.  Next steps are a period in which the Council and Parliament ask questions and 'examination of linguistic legal proceedings'.  These steps are estimated to take 2 to 3 months, after which the decision should appear in the Official Journal of the European Union and thus become final.  

Inclusion of digestate in Annex V will enable waste-derived digestate that complies with end of waste criteria (e.g. is certified compliant with the AD Quality Protocol and PAS 110) to be used without being registered as a substance under the REACH Regulations.   

At the ORG we are very pleased to hear this news.  We have supported the EBA's work on this topic and also called for this change when communicating with the UK competent authority.  We will update you again as and when we receive more info.

Latest update published: 21/02/2019

Does REACH apply to digestate? (An earlier update from ORG, published 22/01/2015)

The ORG has received a communication from the European Sustainable Phosphorous Platform via the European Compost Network that whilst it does not guarantee that digestate will become exempt from REACH in future is very encouraging because the Commission is keen to make updates to Annex V that will exempt it.

The below information was in a letter from DG ENTR in response from a request from the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform to exempt digestate and recovered phosphorus substances from REACH.

'Digestates originating from the production of biogas are considered generated waste and therefore fall within the scope of the waste legislation. Such digestates are, consequently, exempt from the obligations set out in Article 6 of REACH; notably that of registration.

The question of whether REACH registration would be applicable to digestates, in the event they would cease to be waste through the application of end-of-waste criteria, has been subject to considerable debate within the Commission and with Member States, most recently at the 15th Meeting of Competent Authorities for REACH and CLP (CARACAL) held on 8-9 July 2014.

Views on whether the existing entries in Annex V to REACH could be interpreted to also cover digestates differ among Member States. However, in discussions on future policy, there appears to be broad support to assimilating the situation of digestates to that of compost, thereby considering that digestate, when covered by the scope of REACH, should be exempted from registration obligations under Title II of REACH. 

The Commission will consider the input which is still being received from Member States on this issue and will examine all options to bring clarity to the situation of digestates, including the possibility of amending entry 12 of Annex V to align the situation of digestates with that of compost, within the shortest possible time. 

The situation of manure, which you also mention in your letter, has been brought to our attention by some Member States and requires detailed assessment. Further progress on this matter is expected in coming CARACAL meetings, and further input from stakeholders will of course be welcome.'

ORG will update you again when we hear anything further.

Updated: 22/01/2015
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