The fertiliser industry is facing increasing demand for fertiliser products that are part of the circular economy through the recycling of minerals. This development is strengthened by the governments requirement about the phasing out of peat in compost, and strengthens the need for other types of quality assured products to more customers and markets.

- Goal set is to make a Norwegian branch standard for production of bio-fertiliser and compost whilst securing a superior quality in the final product. The norm will decide how the quality is to be documented in relation to fertiliser regulations requirements to quality and internal checks. In addition the project is going to consider upcoming EU regulationts that set in place EU branch standards and third party testing for CE-marked fertiliser, says senior advisor Johan G. Ellingsen in Norges Vel. (right in the picture abot, standing with advisor Henriette Vivestad in Norges Vel.)

Many discrepancies show the need for an industry standard

Mattilsynet performet checks in 2012 relating to Norwegian plants for treating biological waste. They found many discrepancies, particulary in the composting plant. It then concluded that there was a lack of internal checks, raw material checks, methods for getting rid of infectious items and testing systems that document product quality.

Stortinget has asked that Norway should make a plan for the phasing out of peat in soil products, it is therefore necessary to have tighter cooperation between the compost and bio-gass plants for developing peat free products that have the correct quality for being used in hobby and professional markets. A branch standard will therefore be able to define usefull quality standards for more types of product.

The need for a branch standard is strengthened through the EU's suggestion to revised fertiliser rules and opportunities for CE-marking of bio-fertilisers that require a branch standard and third party testing in relation to this. A CE-marked fertiliser product means it can be sold freely in the whole EU market.

Norwegians want to prevent infection and secure quality

In Avfall Norges report 02-15 it is suggested that a build up of quality assurance systems and minimum requirements for composting. The system will keep the requirements for hygene in relation to animal biproducts that will prevent the spread of things like mad cow disease.

Whilst quality assuranse in the production process (process surveilance) is dependent on production technical requirements in composting and bio-gas plants, the outlook for documentation on the quality of the final product is quite similar for all plants, regardless of the products organic predecessor.

Nevertheless experience shows that it is done in a very different way when thinking about testing points, methods and analysis programs. Quality analysers are expensive and different use of these therefore affects the profitability of the plants. There is therefore a need for someone responsible for documentation of bio-fertiliser and compost, an industry standard for internal checks and quality assurance.