New Regulations Go Towards 50 % Phosphorus Reduction Target

New Regulations Go Towards 50 % Phosphorus Reduction Target

Western Australia Acting Minister for Environment Peter Collier

New Fertiliser Regulations To Come Into Effect On January 1, 2011

Victor P Taffa

New Regulations that limit the amount of Phosphorus in ‘home-garden’ fertilisers in order to protect the health of Western Australia’s Waterways come into effect from today.

Acting Environment Minister Peter Collier said the new regulations would effectively halve the concentration of Phosphorus in Domestic-use Fertilisers and Minimise Phosphorus leaching to the environment from residential sources.

“The use of these ‘river-friendly’ Fertilisers is part of the strategy being adopted to achieve the 50 % Phosphorus Reduction Target in the Swan Canning Water Quality Improvement Program and protect the Health of our State’s Waterways.” Mr. Collier said.

“The Phosphorus content in fertilisers as set in the new regulations closely matches the nutrient requirements of plants, thereby reducing waste and the amount of excess Phosphorus leaching into the Environment.”



All Lawn Fertilisers will be limited to a maximum content of 1% Phosphorus. Currently, Lawn Fertilisers contain up to 3.5 % phosphorus.

Garden Fertilisers will be limited to a maximum of 2.5 % Phosphorus and, from January 1, 2013, they will be limited to a maximum of 2% Phosphorus. Currently some Garden Fertilisers contain between 3.5 and 4% Phosphorus.

The Minister said controlled release and processed organic fertilisers, such as ‘blood and bone’, composts and ‘dynamic lifter’, would be allowed to take longer to comply with these requirements.

“These products typically contain higher quantities of phosphorus and manufacturers need time to alter their products or find new markets for the phosphorus constituents in these products.” Mr. Collier said.

“However, these products will be required to comply with the regulations from January 1, 2013.”

A further set of regulations applying to domestic-use fertilisers will come into effect from January 1, 2013 and will require:

  • All packaged products to be labelled in accordance with the Fertilizer Industry Federation of Australia draft code of practice;
  • Fertilisers with more than 0.5 % phosphorus to have nitrogen to phosphorus ratios between 5:1 and 20:1;
  • Liquid fertilisers to have a measuring device to help consumers apply the product correctly and labels showing the phosphorus content at the recommended dilution rate, as well as on a weight-by-weight basis so consumers can compare solid and liquid products.

Mr. Collier said the criteria had been developed by an expert panel in consultation with government agencies and industry groups.

“These regulations are limited to fertilisers in packages of less than 50 kg and will not apply to horticultural or agricultural uses, mulches or natural, unprocessed organic products such as manures.” the Minister said.

“Retailers will have six months from the date these regulations are gazetted to reduce existing stock that does not comply with the regulations.”

“Manufacturers will be required to comply with these regulations from January 1, 2011, and to comply with further requirements from January 1, 2013.” Mr. Collier said.