Consultation open to 3rd May 2023 for EU Taxonomy Regulation, defining technologies eligible for green investment funding (and possibly by extension other support or policy tools): includes P-recycling from municipal wastewater (Annex II = contribution to the circular economy, § 2.1). The draft Delegated Regulation will be adopted by the European Commission after the public consultation period and internal concertation, and does not go to the European Parliament and Council. The proposed Regulation and Annexes are based on the initial reports published by the European Commission in 2021 and 2022, see ESPP eNews n°s 59 and 66. Some of ESPP’s comments on the first draft are taken into account (clarifications regarding recovery routes, inclusion of end-uses other than in fertilisers, requirement of end-product to have a use …). The criteria require that at least 15% of incoming phosphorus is recovered for processes at the waste water treatment plant, and at least 80% for processes treating sewage sludge ashes.
ESPP continues to regret that recovery of nitrogen or of other nutrients is not included, that the wording is likely to exclude some processes for processing P in sewage sludge to organic fertilisers (e.g. biochars), and that the criteria cover only phosphorus recycling from “waste water treatment plants” not from e.g. manure*.
The proposed Regulation also includes, amongst many other sectors, with specified conditions:
- treatment of separately collected bio-waste through anaerobic digestion or composting with the resulting production and utilisation of biogas, digestate, compost or chemicals (Annex II – 2.5);
- urban waste water treatment systems (Annex I – 2.2);
- mechanical material recovery form non-hazardous waste (Annex II – 2.7). This does not cover chemical recovery of e.g. potassium from waste-to-energy combustion ashes, however the preamble (14) states that recovery of “metals and inorganic salts from bottom ashes from non-hazardous waste incineration” should be considered for inclusion in the next update of the Taxonomy criteria.
Unlike the initial Commission report, the proposed Regulation does not cover agriculture.
* The draft text refers to “recovery of phosphorus from on-site waste water treatment plants (WWTP) (aqueous phase and sludge) and from materials (i.e. ashes) after thermal oxidation (i.e. incineration) of sewage sludge”. It is unclear what this means. On the one hand, the text later refers to “sewage sludge”, but on the other hand it cites NACE codes “in particular” E37.00 = sewerage, E38.32 = does not exist (maybe should read E38.3.2 - Recovery of sorted materials ?) and F42.99 = does not exist (maybe should read F42.9.9 - Construction of other civil engineering projects n.e.c.).
“Sustainable investment – EU environmental taxonomy”, EU public consultation to 3rd May 2023 and draft Delegated Regulation establishing further Technical Screening Criteria for the EU ‘Taxonomy’ Regulation 2020/852 HERE.
See also: European Commission taxonomy and sustainable finance web page HERE and EU Taxonomy Navigator online tool HERE.