Sustainable use of compost and digestate to improve soil organic matter – Factsheet ECN

Bio-waste is made up of discarded plant and animal residues, and includes garden/park and food waste. Between 118 and 138 million tonnes of bio-waste is generated across the EU every year, but less than 40% is currently recycled into useable products.

Recycling bio-waste is central to Europe's developing circular economy, of which composting and anaerobic digestion are both proven techniques. Together, they help:

  • reduce the environmetal impacts of landfilling/incineration;
  • return organic matter to soils - this helps maintain/restore soil quality and sequester carbon;
  • produce bio-based product, such as compost, biogas, peat substitutes, fibers and chemicals; and
  • recycle plant nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.

More in this Factsheet from the European Compost Network (ECN) on composting and anaerobic digestion, soil organic matter, agricultural impact on soil organic matter, increasing soil organic matter levels, storing carbon, compost quality, and the functions of soil organic matter. The BVOR is member of ECN.

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