Local and regional leaders call for more ambitious waste management targets

kr1The European Committee of the Regions wants upcoming legislation to include higher targets for the reuse and recycling of municipal waste as well as targets for plastic packaging by 2030 and binding separate re-use targets for specific waste streams. The CoR asks the Extended Producer Responsibility to be reinforced in the waste directives yet securing the industry’s competitiveness. The waste legislative package has a considerable potential impact. More than 180.000 direct jobs could be created and 443 million tons of GHG could be avoided by 2030.

EU's Assembly of Regional and Local Representatives has clearly defined its position on the waste directives currently under revision. Local leaders ask the Commission to bring targets for the reuse and recycling of municipal waste back up to 70% as opposed to 65%, objective included in the circular economy package the Commission presented in December last year. The Assembly eventually supported the inclusion of the highly debated "comparable in quantity" criterion in the definition of municipal waste, as proposed by the Commission’s legislative package.

Domenico Gambacorta (IT/EPP) , President of the Province of Avellino and rapporteur of the adopted opinion said: "We welcome the Commission's proposals amending the waste directives within the new Circular Economy Package. The transition to a circular economy will create new jobs, increase the competitiveness of EU enterprises, boost the development of clean technologies, and reduce Europe's dependency on imported raw materials and energy. To further empower local and regional authorities and advance in waste prevention and management I advise to create a similar structure to the Covenant of Mayors on waste management, which I consider an ambitious yet achievable political goal". The Covenant of Mayors reunites over 6.500 cities and regions engaged in sustainable energy and climate action plans.

Local and regional leaders unanimously voiced the need to work on cross-sectorial waste prevention measures through raising awareness campaigns and educational programmes. The Assembly requests co-legislators to include a target of 10% reduction of municipal waste by 2025 - compared to 2015 levels – and to reduce food waste by at least 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030. The CoR calls on the European Commission to review the situation of non-hazardous industrial waste by 2020, evaluating targets on preparing for re-use and recycling for this waste stream. Concerning plastic packaging, EU’s assembly of local and regional authorities regrets no reuse and recycling targets are foreseen for 2030, and requests the EC to have targets defined shortly. Local leaders pledge for separate binding targets for the re-use of specific waste streams such as furniture, fabrics and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The new waste legislation is to be voted in November by European Parliament's ENVI committee.

Local and regional leaders also call to reinforce the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme, in particular by including litter prevention and collection obligations in addition to supporting clean-up initiatives. 

Notes for editors:

The valid analytical basis for the revised legislative proposals is the European Commission environmental, social and economic impact assessment report of waste management policy options in the EU, published in July 2014. More than 180.000 direct jobs could be created and 443 million tons of GHG could be avoided by 2030. Positive effects on the competitiveness of the EU waste management and recycling sectors as well as on the EU manufacturing sector are to be expected as well as the reinjection into the economy of secondary raw materials, which will in turn reduce the dependency of the EU on raw materials imports.

In its Work Programme 2016, the ENVE Commission of the European Committee of the Regions identified "Advancing a circular economy and ambitious waste management" as one of its priority policy areas. ENVE appointed two CoR rapporteurs on the subject: Mr Gambacorta (IT/EPP) on the legislative proposals amending the waste directives (opinion adopted 15 June 2016) and Ms Winter, (DE/S&D) on the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy. ENVE opinions are complemented by a NAT Commission own initiative opinion on food waste (COR-2015-6646), by rapporteur Mr Martikainen (FI/ALDE), also adopted 15 June 2016. The European Commission Circular Economy Package of December 2015 includes an EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy and revised legislative proposals on waste which key elements are:

  • A common EU target for recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2030;

  • A common EU target for recycling 75% of packaging waste by 2030;

  • A binding landfill target to reduce landfill to maximum of 10% of municipal waste by 2030;

  • A ban on landfilling of separately collected waste;

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