Biowaste in the European Union

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The importance of the composting as biowaste recycling for the sustainable development in Europe can be summarized in the following two points:

• Increasing of soil organic matter through the use of compost

• Compost as fertilizer in the agricultural production

One, from the view of the sustainability, very important consequence of the decline of soil organic matter is the release of greenhouse gases. This problem is also documented in the Impact Assessment of the Thematic Strategy on Soil Protection by the Commission of the European Communities (2006). The Kyoto Protocol committed to limit the greenhouse gas emissions: in 1997 the 15 Member States of the European Community have a combine reduction target of 8% CO2-equivalent emissions during the period 2008-2012 compared to 1990. Soil has a very important role in this process, as a source and a sink of carbon. Soil organic matter can be maintained or increased through the promotion of organic input on arable lands (crop residues, cover crops, farm yard manure, compost, sewage sludge). Organic waste of good quality also can be used to increase soil organic matter in carbon-depleted soils (Marmo 2008).

The increase of the recent years in the biological waste treatment in Europe is reported by ECN (2008). The environmental and market requirements of the biologically treated waste are also reported. The selective biowaste collection the compost production is around 9 million Mg in the European Union.

The strategies for the management of biowaste in the European Union are summarized by Favoino (2008) as follows:

• The Landfill Directive 99/31 mandates the reduction of biodegradable solid waste to be landfilled.

• The European Climate Change Program insisting of the C sequestration, the reduced production/application of pesticides and mineral fertilizers, the improved water retention, and workability.

• The European Thematic Strategy on Soil Protection: 45% of the EU soils are poor in humus and composted biowaste could be a source of organic matter for the soils.

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