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French calls for EU recycling stats overhaul

The French waste management industry has said the EU Commission’s proposal for a universal methodology to record recycling statistics across Europe is “unfeasible”.

The French Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (FNADE) welcomed the Commission’s drive to consolidate the Waste Framework Directive’s current four different reporting methods into one consistent guideline.

But it said the suggested point of measurement – after treatment – is too far downstream to show accurately the amount a country has recycled.

A spokesperson told MRW that the Commission’s suggestion was “not feasible in the day-to-day operation”, and made it difficult to differential between industrial and municipal waste.

It also said the Commission’s method does not measure composting.

The organisation instead supports the use of a single calculation method, described in the Eurostat manual, which uses the output of the sorting plant as the calculation point of the recycling performance.

Its proposal “has the advantage of taking into account, homogeneously and with guaranteed traceability, the quantities of material for recycling before export or before end-of-waste status”, the spokesperson said.

“It is essential that the performances officially published truly reflect the real situation.

“Otherwise the design of public policies related to waste and, more broadly, to the circular economy do not take into account, in all their dimensions, the required efforts and the public costs to engage.”

Commission environment lead Karmenu Vella said he hoped to make swift progress on waste definitions and calculation rules in Brussels last week.

FNADE’s initial comments came in response to improvements shown in figures recently published by Eurostat, where it said the statistics were based on “biased reporting practices”.

Figures published last month showed a growth trend for recycling and composting, with a recycling rate of waste by 44% for the year 2014.

But FNADE said the data reflected “the same weaknesses as in the past in terms of reliability and comparability”.

With its eight trade associations, FNADE represents 220 private companies in France. It is a member of FEAD, the European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services.

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