The European Commission has amended Annex V of REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) to exempt digestate from registration. REACH is a regulation of the European Union designed to “improve the protection of human health and the environment” from risks posed by chemicals. Through REACH, companies must register their substances and work with other companies who are registering the same substance.
According to Chemical Watch, the inclusion of digestate in Annex V will remove uncertainties encountered by producers and users, as well as enforcement authorities. This is because biogas and compost are already exempt from the obligation to register.
Digestate is the residual product from the process of anaerobic digestion, which utilises biodegradable materials originating from non-hazardous sources, such as food and agricultural waste. The AD process generates biogas which is used as a form of energy, and the resulting digestate is often used as a fertiliser for farmland.
The exemption of digestate in REACH Annex V was requested by the European Biogas Association and the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP) in 2014.