Environmental campaigning organisations have urged the European Union to use a package of legal requirements, economic incentives and fiscal instruments to boost resource efficiency.
A set of proposals has been put forward by eight groups: Greenpeace, the European Environmental Europe Bureau (EEB), Friends of the Earth Europe, Zero Waste Europe, Rreuse, Ecos, Seas at Risk and Surfrider Foundation Europe.
The European Commission is expected to outline the outcome of its reassessment of the Landfill, Packaging and Waste Framework Directives in June, an EC spokesperson told MRW.
A consultation on the matter was carried out between June and September last year.
In a joint statement, the organisations suggested ten measures (see box below) the EU could take to make its waste policy “more resource efficient”.
They include raising the recycling target for municipal solid waste to 70%, mandatory separate collections, binding waste prevention targets, landfill and incineration bans for all recyclable and compostable waste by 2020, and promoting extended producer responsibility and resource taxation schemes.
Piotr Barczak, policy officer for waste at the EEB, said: “The review of waste policy is an opportunity to set Europe on a path towards resource efficiency. The EU depends on imports for most of its valuable materials, yet many of these end up in landfills and incinerators. This is not just a missed opportunity, it is pure folly.”
The recommendations build on an EEB report published in April, which outlined the potential of introducing fiscal measures and binding targets.
- A binding EU material reduction target based on a ‘total material consumption’ indicator
- A zero residual waste target (waste not reused or recycled) by 2025
- Binding waste prevention targets for municipal, commercial and industrial waste at the European and national levels
- Prepare reuse targets for municipal solid waste and packaging, with targets for - at a minimum - textiles and furniture
- Increase recycling targets to at least 70% of municipal solid waste, using only one harmonised methodology for reporting based on the recycling output
- A binding quantitative marine litter reduction target of 50%
- Obligatory separate collection of waste by 2020
- Promote economic instruments that support the full implementation of the waste hierarchy, such as extended producer responsibility, pay-as-you-throw schemes or the taxation of resource
- Design out single-use, non-recyclable products and toxic materials
- Ban landfill and incineration by 2020 for all recyclable and compostable waste. End financing of incinerators and landfills via structural and cohesion funds.