This category is for Circular Economy - Waste fertilizers. contact person: @tadeusz
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AGRICULTURAL USE OF WASTE
AS A LINK OF THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY VALUE CHAIN
Fertilisers derived from waste and by-products
as a source of nutrients for plants and a factor for improving soil fertility
Waste is often seen as an attribute of modern civilisation. It is estimated that in highly developed countries, with a population growth of 1-2%, industrial production increases by 4-6% and the amount of waste generated per year increases at a similar rate. In the 21st century, under the pressure of increasing environmental, climate and demographic problems, it has been realised that the current model of the world economy, the so-called " linear model ", is becoming an increasing civilisational threat. An economy based on this model builds its continuous economic growth on increasing consumption of raw materials and increasing volume of waste. It is simply based on the " take - produce - use - throw away " principle. One of long-term effects of such a management model that dominated the world economies of the 20th century was, among others, a side effect expressed by low attention paid to efficient use of raw materials, both in material and energy terms, as the main economic goals were focused on primary production and profit. It has become one of the significant global factors of environmental hazards indicated by excessive accumulation of waste in all elements of the global ecosystem of the world - the lithosphere and the hydrosphere, becoming also an important factor of air pollution. In addition, there was a real threat of depletion of non-renewable resources and an increase in their prices, which would pose a significant risk to stable economic development of many countries. As a result of these global threats, at the beginning of the 21st century, a new view on broadly understood management developed which consists in gradual departure from the traditional " linear model " to the so-called " loop model", in which waste, if formed, becomes a raw material. This new management and development strategy referred to as the " circular economy " is a kind of regenerative management system that minimises the consumption of raw materials and the amount of waste, as well as reduces emissions and energy losses by creating closed loops of manufacturing processes in which waste from one process is used as raw material for other processes. The so understood new management strategy allows to maintain economic growth while optimising the consumption of increasingly limited natural resources. However, its implementation is associated with a fundamental transformation of production and consumption chains and requires a new supply chain management in which the concept of product end-of-life is eliminated or substantially limited. The transformation towards a circular economy requires coordinated action at all stages of the product life cycle - from raw material acquisition, through design, production, consumption, waste collection to waste management. Thus, waste management is an integral part of the life cycle in the circular economy model, which fundamentally distinguishes this model from the linear economy. The circular economy also introduces a new approach expressed by the extended producer’s responsibility (EPR) which obliges them to collect and manage waste generated by-products they manufacture and market. This encourages the manufacturer to analyse the entire product life cycle in terms of reducing waste or its economic use. This implements the universally recognised ’ polluter pays ’ principle. It should be emphasised that there is no universal model of transformation towards a circular economy for all countries. The transformation towards a circular economy must be based on individual national programmes, taking into account the specificities of national economies and their current level of economic development. However, a programme implementing the concept of the circular economy at the national level, to be comprehensive and internally coherent, should be implemented at all levels of national structures: at the level of regions, provinces and municipalities.
Waste-derived fertilisers as a link of the circular economy
The world economy of the 21st century is increasingly focusing on production based on the sustainable use of raw materials, in which an increasingly important role is played by technologies that enable broadly understood waste and by-products to be re-included in the production cycle. New technologies are being extensively developed in which the management of the generated wastes is becoming an important link consisting in re-integrating these wastes into the production cycle. Among many ways of processing waste into useful products, fertilising use plays a particularly important role. A number of wastes generated in the agri-food processing, animal farms, municipal economy, as well as in many industries based on mineral resources, have significant fertilising potential. Their wider use for the production of fertilisers would significantly improve the balance of nutrients and organic matter in many countries. However, for waste to be used for fertilisation, both as raw or processed material, it must comply with legal requirements at national and European level. Legal requirements allowing the natural use of waste-based fertilisers vary significantly across the EU countries. Therefore, in order to amend the situation, in June 2019 the European Parliament adopted new legal regulations (Regulation EU 2019/1009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019) which open the European market for all types of fertilisers, both mineral and organic and organic-mineral ones as well as new waste-derived fertilising products with the status of soil improvers, growing media, etc.