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Vella repeats commitment to individual national waste targets

Waste targets to be proposed by Brussels later this year will be focused more on individual countries, EU environment commissioner Karmenu Vella has announced.

Speaking at the 2015 European Circular Economy Conference in the Belgian capital, Vella maintained that the overall strategy will be “a broad and ambitious programme”.

A greater emphasis on individual countries having specific targets repeated comments the commissioner made to MEPs in late February (above).

Vella told the conference that the waste package, to be re-tabled after being withdrawn late last year, will take into account representations on the original proposals.

“We need a combined approach, where smart regulation is blended with market-based instruments, innovation and incentives. These would provide businesses, including SMEs, with concrete tools, instruments and incentives to promote the transition to a circular economy,” he said.

Vella said there would be a twin focus: “First, we will of course present a new legislative proposal on waste targets. This proposal will use the expert knowledge already gained to be more country-sensitive. I want to assure you that we will keep our EU-wide goals on recycling levels.

“Our success will be measured by how well policies are implemented on the ground. So we will have to set smart, realistic objectives and focus on implementation.”

The second, he said, would involve a “roadmap for further action on the circular economy with two aspects”:

  • upstream: in the production and use phase, before products become waste
  • downstream: after products are no longer waste, looking at what can be done to encourage and develop a market for the recycled products

“Both these aspects – the waste targets review and the roadmap – will come together before the end of this year. I hope you will agree with me that this is quite a broad and ambitious programme.”

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