Commission Gives “Heads-Up” For EU Waste And Circular Economy Package

[vimeo 96900800 w=472]Karl Falkenberg, (Director-General for Environment at the European Commission) has given a “heads-up” regarding the Commission’s upcoming waste and circular economy package in a video interview today

Mr Falkenberg confirms the Commission believes that to increase recycling, member states will need to get a lot better at separate collection of different municipal waste streams – at least with the four main materials already covered in separated collection requirements – and maybe other materials in the future.

He also gives a heavy hint that the current measurement arrangements across the EU are not acceptable.The four methods of calculating what is “recycled” need to be simplified into a single method for all member states, allowing for more precise measurement and reporting of what is actually recycled as compared to what is prepared for recycling.

Admitting that it is currently very difficult to define the success of recycling in Europe with current methodologies he points the way to fairer comparisons of performance. He also talks about not just measuring by recycling targets based on “numbers”, probably suggesting that we need to move away from targets based on weight and percentage of waste produced.

“It sounds like much of what we have been looking for in terms of data collection and reporting allowing proper comparisons of Member States’ performance is going to be in this crucial package from the Commission later this Summer”

Talking about waste performance across the EU, Mr Falkenberg confirms that some states still have a very heavy reliance on landfilling. As we drive for less and less waste to landfill we will need to make sure that the treatment capacity for wastes – especially for recycling and energy recovery – is actually available. The package may well contain “timelines” for some member states to follow to make the transition from their still landfill based strategies.

Janez Potocnik (the current EU Environment Commissioner) will be in London on 16 June to talk about the package and many hope he will give at least a clear indication about the direction of travel in this important “next stage” for waste in the EU if not the detail. An actual announcement is expected either late June or early July.

Speaking on behalf of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, Steve Lee, chief executive, said: ”It looks like the Commission have been listening to CIWM and its Members! It sounds like much of what we have been looking for in terms of data collection and reporting allowing proper comparisons of member states’ performance is going to be in this crucial package from the Commission later this Summer.

“It is also great news to hear Mr Falkenberg talking in realistic terms about making sure proper waste treatment infrastructure is in place to provide non-landfill alternatives and to hear about poor performing states being recognized and more attention being paid to their improvement. There will be a lot in this package. We have only got hints of it so far but CIWM will be sticking very close indeed to these announcements as they will shape the future of this industry and what it can and should deliver.”

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