As is now well recognised, recovering and reusing nutrients from biowaste is a crucial component of a biobased circular economy and will contribute to Europe’s transition to a carbon neutral economy, can support the decoupling of economic growth from resource use, and help restore biodiversity and cut pollution.
However, the full potential of nutrient recovery and reuse from our biowastes will not be recognised until the products can compete on a level playing field with other (synthetic) fertilising products. Working with organic waste materials is complex and requires expensive technologies and like in many industries in our linear economy, reusing materials often comes at a higher cost than developing products from virgin materials. The technology to recover nutrients from biowaste is well developed and applicable at the industrial scale, as shown by the SYSTEMIC project. But greater incentives are needed to stimulate the market for recovered nutrients in order to scale up the circular economy to enable the objectives of the Green Deal to be met.
The aim of this paper is therefore to inform policy makers regarding both the policy barriers that need to be overcome, and possible policy opportunities which can be developed within the Fit for 55 framework and beyond.