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CIWM calls for push and pull in circular economy package

The Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (CIWM) has called on the European Commission to include both ‘push’ and ‘pull’ mechanisms for a stronger recyclates market in its circular economy (CE) proposals.

It also called for a review of existing producer responsibility legislation and the further roll-out of extended producer responsibility (EPR).

The CIWM’s suggestions came in its submission paper in response to the Commission’s public consultation on a revised CE package, which closed on 20 August.

The package is expected to be released in the autumn, after the original proposals were scrapped last December.

Organisations including the Recycling Association, the British Metal Recycling Association and WRAP have contributed to the online consultation, which ran for 12 weeks.

The CIWM’s suggestions include smarter targets and landfill restrictions, more circular product design, standards, procurement and consumption models.

Steve Lee

Push mechanisms encourage behaviour change while pull factors create a ‘value proposition’ to drive investment in infrastructure, according to CIWM chief executive Steve Lee (left).

“Producer responsibility and EPR should better reflect the requirements of the ‘polluter pays’ principle, as set out in the Waste Framework Directive, and could be a more effective vehicle to promote greater product stewardship, incentivise sustainable design, and ensure that funding support for recycling is appropriately channelled,” he said.

“Waste is ultimately a market failure, with the burden of managing and paying for this failure currently sitting largely with consumers and local authorities.

“While this approach has brought us a certain distance on the path towards more sustainable practices, it is not fit for purpose to deliver the circular economy aspirations now being formulated.”

The CIWM also called on member states to develop national food waste strategies, with an aspirational target similar to that proposed in the original CE package.

It has suggested smarter data capture to support policy development, and warned that the role of legislation and regulation should not be dismissed as a result of the current agenda to cut red tape at both the EU and UK level.

Lee added: “The Commission must keep its promise to deliver a more ambitious package and, from a UK perspective, Whitehall in particular must step up to the table. Scotland and Wales are already demonstrating their commitment to better resource stewardship and it is high time that England stopped spectating from the sidelines.”

The Commission announced last week that its consultation attracted 1,420 responses. The original package, dropped last December, included recycling targets of 70% for municipal waste and 80% for packaging by 2030.

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