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EU Biowaste Directive moves a pace closer

European Union Member States have asked the European Commission to table a directive on biowaste in 2010 if appropriate and consider local conditions when drafting the new law.


In December 2008, the Commission published a Green Paper on biowaste management in the EU and launched a consultation process to gather opinions on the possibility of a new Biowaste Directive.


The EC defines biowaste as
biodegradable garden and park waste, food and kitchen waste from households, restaurants, caterers and retail premises, and comparable waste from food processing plants. The definition does not include forestry or agricultural residues, manure, sewage, sludge or other biodegradable waste, such as natural textiles, paper or processed wood. The Landfill Directive obliges Member States to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfill by 65 per cent by 2016 compared to 1995 levels.


The European Council last week (25 June) adopted conclusions on the Commissions Green Paper on biowaste management.


The EU Member States asked the Commission to prepare an EU legislative proposal on biodegradable waste by 2010.


The Member States also called on the Commission to take into account local conditions and include:

  • Measures for the prevention of such waste;
  • Measures for introducing separate collection of biodegradable waste where necessary to guarantee a high quality for subsequent recycling;
  • A quality assurance system, based on the principle of integrated chain management and traceability.

The EU Member States have also expressed concern about the increasing volume of waste, which they said represents a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution when deposited in landfills without proper stabilisation.


They also stressed that the Commissions current definition of biowaste should be clarified and enlarged to include all biodegradable waste suitable for treatment in composting or anaerobic digestion plants.


They also recommend considering other biodegradable wastes suitable for treatment in composting or anaerobic digestion plants as part of the scope for possible future EU legislative proposals.


The Commission is currently conducting an impact assessment on the different biowaste management options and has invited stakeholders to submit their views. The EU executive intends to present an analysis of responses received by the end of 2009.

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