ORBIT e.V.

Deregulation and voluntary self-regulation of producers of compost and secondary raw-material fertilizers -against the background of the biowaste and fertilizer ordinances

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Courtesy of ORBIT e.V.

Since the RAL (Institute for quality assurance and labelling) introduced the quality mark for compost in 1992, more than 300 German composting plants have decided to adopt this voluntary quality control system. This system has significantly helped to define characteristics of high-quality, marketable composts. The quality standards agreed upon with the end-user are guaranteed and monitored within the quality assurance. The assurance of safe application allows the user to have confidence in composts with RAL quality marks.

The quality assurance focuses on characteristics in terms of product application. It is not limited to preventative measures, such as the biowaste ordinance, but includes criteria of usefulness, predictability and effectiveness of product application. Continuity in characteristics, accuracy of details declared and information regarding the recommended amount applied according to sound professional practice are the primary aim of RAL quality assurance. However, it cannot remain static, but needs to constantly adapt and improve in relation to practical demands.

Since the introduction of the biowaste ordinance on 1.10.1998, the quality control carried out by quality assurance associations can be used as a basis for exemption under § 11 section 3 of the biowaste ordinance. However, this is only an additional possibility, not the primary aim of the quality assurance. The ordinance is meant to aid quality assured products in order to make participation in voluntary quality assurance systems more attractive. I am now going to explain how quality assurance is to be applied in the context of the biowaste ordinance.

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