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Defra prepares to manage transposition of revised Waste Framework Directive

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs intends to manage the transposition of the revised Waste Framework Directive through a two-stage consultation process.

The revised WFD was published on 22 November 2008 in the Official Journal of the European Union. Article 40 of the directive requires Member States to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the directive by 12 December 2010.

A Defra spokesman said that the consultation had not yet started and it will start in due course.

Stage one will be a 12-week public consultation held from this summer to September 2009 to consider the policy and strategy changes that will be needed as a result of the revised WFDs adoption. This consultation will cover among other issues, how the Government intends to transpose the requirements for recycling and recovery targets set out in Article 11 of the directive.

Article 11 of the directive states the following:

By 2020, the preparing for re-use and the recycling of waste materials such as at least paper, metal, plastic and glass from households and possibly from other origins as far as these waste streams are similar to waste from households, shall be increased to a minimum of overall 50 per cent by weight.

There has been much concern about Article 11 of the directive among the waste and recycling sector.

Independent consultant and former MEP Caroline Jackson told MRW: The recycling targets were thought out late at night between the European Council and the Parliament. The wording is still very opaque. All the Member States agreed in formal meetings that the text that was agreed is very confusing.

said that the from other origins phrase is the most confusing part of the text. She said that it could be interpreted to mean anything and that some Member States with low targets could cheat to meet their targets. She also questioned whether the 50 per cent recycling target will apply to materials such as paper, metal, plastic and glass on a separate basis or an accumulative basis.

She also said there was difficulty in establishing a method of calculation of how each Member State will achieve the 50 per cent recycling target in a way that will not undermine the credibility of such targets. She said the problem was highlighted in the European Topic Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production publication The EU as a recycling society (April 2009). It states: The recycling level of municipal waste in each Member State is currently calculated as the difference between the generated amount minus the amount landfilled and incinerated. This means that the calculated amount is an expression of the maximum amount of municipal waste that could have been recycled, not an assessment of actual levels.

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