The European Commission has released a guidance document on preparing for waste prevention.
The guidance is written for member states looking to push waste prevention up the agenda of their waste policy in order to comply with the revised Waste Framework Directive (rWFD). It discusses strategy for waste prevention and policy options for implementation.
Waste prevention, which is at the top of the waste hierarchy, is the most efficient way to reduce waste and avoid environmental impacts including greenhouse gas emissions and those associated with resource extraction.
The rWFD requires member states to have national waste prevention plans in place by 12 December 2013. A key aim of the directive is to “decouple economic growth from the environmental impact of waste generation”.
Historically, economic growth was strongly linked to levels of waste generated in a country. Since 2000, however, the link has been weakening as the generation of waste across the EU has dropped by 4%, while GDP has risen by 33% between 2000 and 2010.
The guidance says that the short-term aim is to stabilise levels of waste arisings and, in the longer-term, states should outline their targets for absolute waste reduction over five to 20 years.
The UK’s Waste Strategy, published in 2007, is among the case studies of waste prevention plans highlighted in the document. Key aspects of the strategy are highlighted, such as: strengthening incentives for households, businesses and councils to reduce waste, and reducing household waste generation by 45% by 2020.
European commissioner for the environment, Janez Potočnik tweeted about the guidance on waste prevention: “useful and necessary. Action is needed at all levels from individuals to governments and everything in between.”
Steve Lee, CIWM chief executive, tweeted: “End 2013 deadline will come fast. In 2014 they start checks.”