The French waste management industry has questioned the possible direction taken by the European Commission in its the upcoming circular economy (CE) package.
MRW exclusively reported last month the contents of an advanced internal Commission document on an action plan to underpin the proposals, due to be published on 2 December.
To drive a market for secondary raw materials, the document mentions public authorities’ procurement policies as a driver, but it is emphatic that “prescriptive EU action would not be effective or proportionate”.
Now the French Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (FNADE) has sent MRW a response, urging the Commission to require that member states provide ‘pull’ measures for secondary raw materials.
FNADE wants VAT on products containing a certain percentage of recycled materials and pay-as-you-throw schemes for household waste.
The group also calls for grading of environmental taxation “according to the environmental performance of the waste management installations and green public procurement”.
It backs the Commission’s focus on improved quality standards for secondary materials but rejected household waste reduction targets. Promoting high-quality recycling is not often compatible with higher recycling rates, FNADE said.
“A true CE cannot be based on reduced waste flows because municipal waste is approximately 10% of the total waste generated in the EU.”
FNADE also backed the Commission’s proposal to differentiate fees paid by producers in extended producer responsibility schemes according to end-of-life costs and recyclability of their products.
It recommended that fees should be based on the use of materials that disrupt or prevent recycling, such as using white PET instead of PE.
Industry figures in the UK recently shared similar concerns about a lack of clear legislation and drivers for raw secondary materials markets in the upcoming package.
With its eight trade associations, FNADE represents 220 private companies in France. It is a member of FEAD, the European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services.
The Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants has written an open letter to the European Commission calling for ambitious and binding targets in its Circular Economy proposals.
“Diverting recyclable and recoverable waste from landfills is the first step towards a recycling and recovering society for a sustainable use of our resources. Setting ambitious recycling and recovering targets is the second step that can only be done after the first step,” the letter says.
CEWEP is the umbrella association of the owners and operators of EfW plants across Europe and includes FCC Environment and Urbaser in the UK.