The NFU has submitted a response to the EU Commission’s consultation on the ‘circular economy’.
The circular economy will determine how schemes such as anaerobic digester plants, composting, use of waste as a biofertiliser and on-farm recycling plants will be supported at an EU level.
The aim is to look into ways to reduce waste production across the whole of the supply chain from production to consumption, increasing value in materials which would previously have been landfilled.
This consultation focused on the barriers to circular economy.
The main points we have raised include:
- The lack of confidence in some biodegradable waste being spread to land. This could be addressed through further research into the nutrient content of these waste materials spread to land - including compost and digestate from anaerobic digester plants. Further research is also needed into the potential risks involved in spreading these wastes- e.g. pathogen and disease content and any impacts on soils ecosystem
- The waste produced from the lack of contacts under the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP). Overproduction can occur when contracts are only required between the retailer and immediate supplier. This point and more has already been discussed in the NFU’s Catalyst for Change document;
- Increasing self-sufficiency in food production in Europe and Britain. The NFU’s Backing Farming in a Volatile World document highlighted how over-reliance on imports reduces Britain’s competiveness on world markets. It can also lead to a greater environmental footprint- for example the need for greater packaging, waste production and water usage.
- Greater publicity and labelling of the origin of produce to increase consumer awareness;
- Ensuring promotions are consistent with the produce which is in season and in high supply;
- Reducing legislative burden on small-scale on-farm waste recovery units, for example AD plants and plastic recycling.
The NFU has consulted with members, retailers, other trade associations and member states. The outcomes of this consultation will be published late 2015/2016 at the earliest and we will publish when information becomes available.
Any further responses to this consultation should be sent to bWFydGluLnJvZ2Vyc0BuZnUub3JnLnVr