Sustainability

Consultation on European Waste Management Targets

landfill

The European Commission is seeking views on amending waste management targets to ensure that they are in line with European policy.

The ‘Consultation on the Review of the European Waste Management Targets’, which opened yesterday (4 June), has been commissioned by DG Environment at the European Commission (EC) in the hopes of ‘identifying the issues and proposing possible solutions to the targets in the Waste Framework Directive, the Landfill Directive and the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive’.

Headed by waste consultancy Eunomia, the review aims to reassess clauses in the directives and bring these in line with the EC’s ambition of promoting resource efficiency as detailed in the Roadmap on Resource Efficiency and the 7th Environmental Action Programme.

There are two streams of questioning for the review: one for European citizens and one for industry stakeholders. However, a respondent can choose to express his or her views as both a European citizen and as a stakeholder.

Waste Framework Directive

Topics under discussion relating to the Waste Framework Directive include:

  • potentially extending targets to include materials other than dry recyclables (for example, food waste);
  • establishing a single target and calculation method based only on the quantity of both household and municipal waste collected (to allow consistent reporting across member states); and
  • mandating the sorting of waste at construction and demolition sites, with ‘special attention’ to hazardous wastes.

Landfill Directive

In regards to the Landfill Directive, respondents are asked for their thoughts on how to see better compliance across states, including:

  • establishing a legal obligation for reporting on ‘municipal waste’ and enforcing the use of a single definition of the term by all member states;
  • standardising the approach to performance measurement and progress reporting, and ‘progressively including all biodegradable wastes’ (not just biodegradable wastes of municipal origin) within targets similar to the existing ones; and
  • introducing targets for the ‘progressive reduction in the quantity of residual waste irrespective of how it is subsequently managed’.

Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive

Looking at the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, respondents are asked for their views on topics including: 

  • standardising the methodology for calculating recycling rates (to allow consistent reporting across member states);
  • removing the target for packaging waste (from municipal sources) from the Packaging Directive and placing it in the Waste Framework Directive ‘to ensure full consistency with the existing target on municipal waste recycling’;
  • incorporating ‘weightings’ for recycled materials based on environmental benefits derived from the recycling process;
  • introducing subdivisions for different categories of material (for example, separating metals between ferrous and non-ferrous); and
  • introducing a target for the prevention of packaging waste. 

The consultation also asks for ideas on how to translate the commission’s Resource Efficiency Roadmap into legally-binding targets, and the effectiveness of the targets in the European legislation.

The consultation will close on 10 September, and the results of the consultation will be published ‘in the autumn’ on the official website of the Targets Review Project and on Your Voice in Europe

Once responses have been received, Eunomia will put forward several preferred options for detailed analysis, expected to be completed in ‘spring 2014’.

Read the ‘Consultation on the Review of the European Waste Management Targets’.