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Monday, 10 January 2022

Supporting the EU Soil Strategy

Healthy soils are the foundation for 95% of the food we eat, host more than 25% of the world’s biodiversity, and are the largest terrestrial carbon pool on the planet. Yet, 70% of soils in the EU are not in a good condition. To combat this the European Commission has adopted a new EU Soil Strategy. The document sets a vision and objectives to achieve healthy soils by 2050, with concrete actions by 2030.

The headline action proposed in the strategy is the announcement of a new Soil Health Law, to protect the state of soil across Europe. This EU-wide legal framework will put soil on the same legal footing as air and water.

All EU soil ecosystems are healthy and more resilient and can therefore continue to provide their crucial services. There is no further land take and soil pollution is reduced to levels that are no longer harmful to people’s health or ecosystems. Protecting soils, managing them sustainably and restoring degraded soils is a common standard.

The Soil Strategy Vision for 2050 - EU Soil Strategy

Many measures listed in the strategy focused on reducing contamination from plastics and fertilisers, including:

  • Intentionally used micro-plastics will be restricted under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation and measures on the unintentional release of microplastics will be developed by 2022.
  • The EU will develop a policy framework on bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics by 2022.
  • By July 2024, biodegradability criteria will be adopted for certain polymers, such as coating agents and agricultural mulch films under the EU Fertilising Products Regulation.
  • The contaminant limits for EU fertilising products will be reviewed by July 2026 as part of the general review of that regulation.

The EU Soil Strategy is in fact well aligned with the objectives of the UNLOCK project, which will release the potential of feathers to foster circularity in agriculture.

The UNLOCK project is developing biodegradable agricultural products, including mulch films, which will remove the possibility of microplastic contamination caused by currently used products.

In addition to this, the UNLOCK products will gradually release organic nitrogen to the soil, with a desired fertilising effect.

Soil is essential for life on earth and a key ally in the fight against climate change. UNLOCK is proud to play a part in securing its long-term health!

This project has received funding from the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 101023306.

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