The Finnish Quality assurance Scheme, QAS, was taken in use in March 2020. The name of the scheme is Laatulannoite-järjestelmä. The Finnish Biocycle and Biogas Association owns the QAS and is responsible for its day-to-day management and the finance. The Steering Group is the main decision-making body of the QAS, and the Quality Committee is an expert body. The stakeholders are well presented in the organisation.
The aim of the quality system is to increase the transparency of the operation and production of recycled fertilizers, and the quality system aims to influence the quality of the waste material from the very beginning of the waste generation. A Finnish QAS is a free choice for the companies. The aim is to develop the QAS so that it corresponds to the needs arising from the legislation on fertilizers and waste, of both being under revision at the moment. The link to the waste legislation (the EoQ questions) and/or fertilizer legislation (the role of quality and the QAS) has not yet been decided, but it is under investigations.
The rules of the Finnish QAS are given in a handbook. The handbook lays down the rules for the development and maintenance principles of the QAS, quality of raw materials, quality of products, sampling & analyses of batches, internal and external audits and quality management principles and follow up of legislation.
The product quality requirements relate to the following quality parameters: E. Coli, Salmonella, N, NH4-N, NO3-N, P, liquid P, K, organic matter, pH, moisture, volume weight, conductivity, maturity of the compost, moisture of the digest, As, Hg, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Ni, Zn, PAH (16), PCB, PFOS and PFOA, drugs, PBDE, DEHP, dioxines, furans, impurities such as animal matters, seeds of weeds, glass, metal, plastic, bones, stones, common wild oat and parts of plants.
A product that fulfils the requirements of the QAS can have a Laatulannoite-quality label on its package. In November 2020, there are eight different products of three different companies having a Laatulannoite-quality label.
In 2017, three Finnish associations set a common goal to create a national quality assurance system for the recycled nutrient products. Those associations were:
– The Finnish Association for Biological Waste Treatment (”Biolaitosyhdistys”)
– The Finnish Biogas Association (”Suomen Biokaasuyhdistys”)
– The Finnish Water Utilities Association (FIWA, ”Suomen vesilaitosyhdistys”)
After the pre-studies in 2017 the associations were ready to start a project named ”Lara laaturavinne” for the creation of the QAS. In spring 2018 the project received Government’s key projects financing from The Finnish Ministry of Environment and the effectively work could start. Other financers for the project launching on 2018-2019 are The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and nine digesting and/or composting companies:
• Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY
• Honkajoki Oy
• Kekkilä Oy
• LABIO Oy
• Lakeuden Etappi Oy
• Lammin Puutarhamulta
• Mustankorkea Oy
• Ab Stormossen Oy
• Vehkosuon Komposti Oy
Those companies have big possibilities in today’s circular economy, because
– they utilize biowaste materials very exhaustive: separately collected biowaste, biowaste from industry and trade, different biomasses, manure, ashes and sewage sludge
– they produce organic ferlizers and renewable energy, biogas
– their fertilizer products improve the quality of soil: increasing the amount of humus and stimulating the microbiological life and promoting the carbon binding
The steering group of the project consists of representatives from important public and private interest groups:
• Biolan Oy
• Gasum Oy
• Natural Resources Institute Finland
• Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Finland
• The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK)
• Association of ProAgria Centres
• Finnish Food Authority
• Finnish Environment Institute
• The Finnish Association of Landscape Industries
The project aims to o create a quality system and quality label for fertiliser products, which have been processed from recycled materials in biogas and composting plants or other similar processing plants. The milestones of the project are:
• Study for the principles for the QAS
• Quality Handbook
• Graphic instructions for the quality label
• Pilot-process for testing the QAS in companies
• Database software for QAS
• Economic plan for QAS
In the project work we have utilized the ECN-QAS Quality Manual as well as the German Qualitäts-management Handbuch (QMH) RAL Gütesicherung Kompost. During the project will several workshops be organised and the project will be presented in many events and fairs, as well as in special journals and social media.
The QAS is a service and tool for the users of fertilizer products as well as for the producers, advisors, researchers and authorities. It will increase the use of recycled nutrients, taking advantage of the waste streams from other sectors, and reduce the eutrophication of water bodies. The intention is to launch the first products to comply with the new quality system onto the market at the beginning of 2020.
At the beginning of 2019, The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra published ”The Critical move – Finnish road map to a circular economy 2016-2025” and our project is one good example there. See
On summer 2019 the project operator changed: a new association has been founded, namely The Finnish Biocycle and Biogas Association. It will comprehensively continue the work of Finnish Association for Biological Waste Treatment and Finnish Biogas Association, and also take care of the quality assurance project.