Data Reliability “Major Challenge” For New EU Waste Targets

packaging-recycling-EXPRAA study published by the Extended Producer Responsibility Alliance (EXPRA) has concluded that EU member states’ latest packaging recycling data shows inconsistencies and variances.

As a result it would be premature to conclude that all member states have reached their EU targets, the Alliance says. This poses a major challenge to new target setting as deeper analysis appears to be required.

EXPRA’s study, which was carried out by the Alliance’s Data and Reporting Working Group, analysed Eurostat packaging recycling data from 28 EU member states or EFTA members, over the period covering 2006-2012. The research discloses that the variance between best and worst performers is large enough to suggest that national statistics are far from being complete, accurate and reliable.

EXPRA’s managing director, Joachim Quoden – “EU waste management targets are a key aspect of the upcoming Circular Economy Package, and it is imperative that the new target levels are realistic and based on reliable statistics”

According to EXPRA, these findings are in line with previous studies on the matter, including the Waste Fitness Check, performed by BIO IS et al which found that: “[…] recycling and recovery targets have generally been met, but some uncertainty exists about the accuracy of the reported data”

In light of the impending publication of the new circular economy proposal by the European Commission, EXPRA says it would like to highlight the “need for additional research on the reasons behind these data inconsistencies.”

It would also specifically welcome additional measures aimed at harmonising member states’ quality reporting to the European Commission. The latter would, in turn, facilitate the task of identifying the most cost-effective solutions, it says.

Circular Economy Package

Alternative reporting, through which member states explain their measurement system and the quality of the results, would be a plausible way forward. Ideally, an updated, more detailed reporting methodology could be developed.

EXPRA’s managing director, Joachim Quoden, commented: “EU waste management targets are a key aspect of the upcoming Circular Economy Package, and it is imperative that the new target levels are realistic and based on reliable statistics.

“Data harmonisation and further emphasis on complete, accurate, and reliable statistics should therefore be at the centre of the legislative review.”

Founded in 2013, EXPRA is the organisation for packaging and packaging waste recovery and recycling systems and acts as the authoritative voice and common policy platform representing the interests of its members, which are all founded and run by or on behalf of obliged industry.

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