Zero Waste Europe urge EU Commission to tackle waste crisis


Zero Waste Europe have sent an open letter to EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, calling for urgent action to tackle the “waste crisis”.

The letter was supported by 10 Members of the European Parliament and 47 other NGOs. In the letter, the signatories state their concerns regarding the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) revision’s “very limited scope” and urge the Commission to adopt legally binding European-level quantitative targets for municipal solid waste prevention.

Writing in the letter, the signatories state: “We, the undersigned, believe that with this revision of the WFD, it is high time to tackle the root causes of the increasing amount of waste and resource extraction – i.e. the overuse of resources, overproduction and overconsumption.”

It also highlights what it says is a lack of accountability for producers that have played an important role in this development. As a solution, the signatories call for a move away from “an extracting value” of planetary resources – which brings with it issues like the global resource scarcity crisis and related geopolitical consequences – towards a “producing value” with lower amounts of resources used.

The European Commission seems to prefer postponing what is needed today and continues kicking the can down the road.

In Zero Waste Europe’s open letter, the signatories said they were disappointed with the latest update on the scope of the 2023 work programme revision. As a solution to this, the letter calls for EU policies to match the European Green Deal’s ambitions and narrative.

“Intending to achieve carbon neutrality and circularity by 2050, the current rate of 8.6% circularity, calculated by the 2022 Circularity Gap Report, is unacceptable and outright dangerous for Europe’s future,” the signatories write in the letter.

It says the signatories welcome the European Commission’s plans for food waste reduction; however, they underline that targets must address the entire supply chain and be aligned with the commitments of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3 and achieve the 50% food loss and waste reduction target by 2030.

Writing in the letter, the signatories state: “Above all, the transition towards a circular economy should have resource use reduction at its core: instead of only closing an ever-increasing loop, we need to reduce the size of material flows.

“This requires completely reshaping our extraction, production, and consumption patterns. The proposed narrow scope of the revision, merely including food waste reduction targets, improving recycling and introducing EPR for textiles, tackles only a fraction of the waste crisis.

“The European Commission seems to prefer postponing what is needed today and continues kicking the can down the road.”

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