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EU Commission launches waste markets consultation

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on waste markets in preparation for the release of its revised circular economy (CE) package.

It says it wants to obtain a better understanding of the nature and the extent of regulatory failures causing undue distortions to recycling and recovery markets.

The online discussion for stakeholders and experts on waste management will run from 12 June to 4 September.

Information gathered by the Commission will also feed into the finalisation of its study, which started in January, to examine obstacles and regulatory failures affecting the functioning of waste markets in the EU.

The Commission said: “The EU’s waste management industry has a high potential for growth and job creation. In order to fulfil such potential and facilitate the transition towards a more circular economy, it is important to deepen our understanding of EU waste markets, focusing in particular on possible regulatory failures.”

Materials to be recycled should currently move freely within the EU, without any unjustified restrictions.

Only certain reasons may limit this, according to article 12 of the waste shipment regulation, such as someone shipping materials having been previously convicted of illegal shipments.

The Commission said the regulatory environment may hamper the efficient functioning of waste markets and fail to ensure optimal implementation of the waste hierarchy.

“Some regulatory failures may arise in connection with the application and interpretation of EU legal requirements while others may be the result of national, regional or local rules,” it said. “Within the context of this consultation both types of regulatory failures are considered.”

A broader CE consultation, also set to feed into the revised package, opened on 28 May and will run until 20 August.

The proposals are set for release in the autumn and are expected to include recycling targets tailored to each member state.

The original package was dropped last December, and included recycling targets of 70% for municipal waste and 80% for packaging by 2030.

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