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EU waste industry outlines opposition to prevention and reuse targets

European waste industry professionals are in favour of more stringent monitoring of recycling targets but not setting new prevention and reuse targets at the EU level.

Their views were revealed in a review of a consultation on EU waste and recycling targets carried out by the European Commission between June and September.

A group of researchers led by Eunomia analysed the answers of 670 respondents, 214 of which being waste industry or trade body representatives.

Eunomia’s report (pdf right) suggested that most waste professionals were strongly in favour of the EU increasing monitoring and validation of the reports submitted by member states.

They also said that the methodology for calculating recycling rates should be standardised to facilitate cross-state comparisons.

Industry respondents also backed the introduction of new requirements for businesses and construction and demolition sites, such as the separation of materials for recycling, composting or anaerobic digestion and a special attention to hazardous waste.

Their views contrasted to responses from EU citizens, NGOs and public authorities, which indicated a general preference of extended recycling targets to other materials and to waste prevention and reuse.

The only target waste professionals expressed a strong preference for was on food waste. Only around 43% of them were in favour of introducing waste prevention targets, and only around 27% said they would welcome preparation for reuse objectives.

But most repondents overall said the EU should increase its action beyond setting targets, including guidance on the proper implementation of the waste hierarchy and of effective and transparent producer responsibility schemes.

In its response to the consultation, the UK Government had also argued against setting “new environmental targets, including targets on waste prevention and reuse” and called for reducing “heavy regulatory approaches” and “burdens on businesses”.

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