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EU pressed on trade waste data

The waste industry has pressed the European Commission to be tougher in its stance on reporting commercial and industrial waste.

While the Commission’s circular economy package, presented in December, included a 65% target for household recycling by 2030, there was no such goal for trade waste.

Now the European body for waste businesses FEAD has expressed the need for trade waste, which it said accounts for two-thirds of all material in the EU, to be recorded after the Commission discussed the difficulties of introducing regulation.

Kestutis Sadauskas, the Commission’s director of green economy, said the lack of statistics made target-setting difficult but said he would have to get support from businesses before introducing mandatory reporting.

“To impose that kind of reporting on every industry I think we would have to think twice. We might need an impact assessment or something like this.

“But I think we can already say that it is going to be very tough. They will tell us it is another bureaucracy when businesses are facing difficulties again.”

He added there was already evidence of high recycling in certain waste streams such as metals within trade waste.

FEAD president David Palmer-Jones (pictured) responded to Sadauskas directly, saying: “My suggestion to you is to be a bit tougher. It is a big missing piece of the jigsaw.

“It is interesting that we are so forgiving of these mandatory targets on industry. They should know what they are doing with their waste materials and recyclates, some of which are hazardous. It surprised me that we have this lassez-faire attitude towards that.

“We need the information to be able to plan what to do with that material and what types of infrastructure we need to build to take care of it. I would not be so forgiving if I was in [Sadauskas’s] role regarding mandatory targets.

“Most countries have traceability of waste materials and recyclates today. We need to ensure a mandatory approach to collating that information to ensure the policymakers in each of the countries complies.”

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