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Parliamentary questions
PDF 42kWORD 25k
24 September 2013
Question for written answer E-010830-13
to the Commission
Rule 117
Andrea Zanoni (ALDE)

 Subject:  Biogas plant digestate used neat: request to assess whether the substance should be registered under Article 6 of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006
 Answer in writing 

Under Law No 134 of 7 August 2012 converting Decree-Law No 83 of 22 June 2012 introducing ‘urgent measures for national growth’, digestate from individually or jointly operated on-farm anaerobic digestion plants which is used for agricultural purposes is classed as a by-product. This also applies if the anaerobic digestion is combined with other physical or mechanical processing of livestock manure, crop residues or residues obtained by farms from the by-products of industrial crop processing and reuse, used alone or in combination.

In its judgment No 33588 of 31 August 2012, the Court of Cassation (Third Criminal Chamber) also equated digestate with livestock manure under the terms of the Ministerial Decree of 7 April 2006 on ‘General criteria and technical standards for regional regulation of the use of the livestock manure for agronomic purposes, mentioned in Article 38 of Legislative Decree No 152 of 11 May 1999’.

Even though livestock manure is not classed as bio-waste, according to page 5 of the Green Paper ‘On the management of bio-waste in the European Union’, COM(2008) 0811, December 2008, ‘if not stated otherwise, the term “compost” in this document refers both to compost directly produced from bio-waste as well as composted digestate’. This suggests that the usual practice is to send digestate to composting plants, as opposed to using it neat.

Under Article 2(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (the REACH Regulation), the regulation’s provisions on ‘substances, preparations and articles’ do not apply to waste as defined in Directive 2006/12/EC, whereas the substances mentioned in Annex IV and those mentioned in Annex V are only exempt from the provisions of Titles II (Registration of Substances), V (Downstream Users) and VI (Evaluation).

Annex V, point 12 of the REACH Regulation exempts compost and biogas from the abovementioned obligations; however there is no mention of digestate in the annex.

Under EC law, does Article 6 (‘General obligation to register substances on their own or in preparations’) of the REACH Regulation apply to digestate?

Original language of question: ITOJ C 206, 02/07/2014
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