Rules on anaerobic digestion to be eased

A new 'quality protocol' covering the way anaerobic digestion is regulated will make it easier for industries to recycle, according to an organics expert.

Waste & Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP) Dr Nina Sweet unveiled the protocol at the Recycling Waste Management show at Birmingham’s NEC yesterday (17 September).

Dr Sweet, who is WRAP’s organics technical specialist, outlined how the protocol has created clear standards for the production of digestate, which is similar to compost and created through anaerobic digestion, from organic waste.

Firms dealing in digestate, which is rich in nutrients and used as a fertiliser, will now have to pay less as long as they conform to the protocol.

The new regulations cut the costs by defining when the material stops being ‘waste’ and becomes a ‘product’.

Developed by the Waste Protocols Project, a joint WRAP and Environment Agency body, it will require individual anaerobic digestion plants to get accreditation to the protocol.

Part of this will be also see plants having to comply with the planned quality standard for digestate, PAS110, due out later this autumn from the BSI British Standards.

Dr Sweet said: “We’ve undertaken this piece of work because of this transition between being waste and product.

“It’s a key element to removing the barriers to development in the industry.”

Luke Walsh

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