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EU lobbied on mandatory biowaste collections

Food waste 2000

The Council of the European Union has been lobbied on mandatory separate collection of biowaste.

Segregated collections are included in the circular economy (CE) package, currently passing through the European Parliament, but the Bio-Based and Biodegradable Industries Association (BBIA) said the proposals were too flexible.

When the European Commission released the CE package in December, it added biowaste to the list of materials to be collected separately by member states except where it was not technically, environmentally and economically practicable (TEEP).

Now in a letter to Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the European Council of Environment Ministers’ president, BBIA managing director David Newman described subjecting the material’s collection to TEEP as “a mistake”.

“This means thousands of communities will not collect biowaste because, objectively, it requires a change in the organisation of collection systems that many operators and municipalities would prefer to avoid,” it reads.

The letter proposes broadening the definition of biowaste to include compostable materials in packaging to raise levels of the material’s interception.

It recommends introducing a definition of organic recycling in the Waste Framework Directive as composting and anaerobic digestion, to put it on a par with other forms of mechanical recycling.

Newman also recommends imposing green public procurement standards to drive product redesign and reduce product impacts on the environment.

Meanwhile, paper recycler DS Smith has said that the CE package “could have been more ambitious”.

Writing in a blog, head of recycling Jim Malone said legislation was needed as well as voluntary schemes such as WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment 2025 to capture smaller organisations that do not already have the infrastructure to make changes.

“Proper enforcement […] needs to support legislation by regulating the way the law is applied to business, whatever their national or international borders,” he added.

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