The Commission’s proposals on waste are foggy on key definitions that are at the heart of the new strategy focusing on life-cycle thinking, a panel of MEPs, business and NGO experts agreed.
The main elements of the Commission’s proposals are:
- Life-cycle approach: The strategy proposes to look beyond the pollution caused by waste to consider its potential contribution to a more sustainable use of natural resources and raw materials. This aspect is dealt with in a related strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources (EURACTIV 21 Dec. 2005)
- Prevention: Member states are required to develop national waste prevention policies and report every three years
- Recycling: EU-wide environmental standards on recycling are to be adopted to “support the development of an EU market for secondary (recycled) materials”
- Simplifying existing legislation: This is also a major priority which will apply along the principles of the Commission’s ‘better regulation’ initiative.
- Targets: The new strategy does not impose specific waste recycling or prevention targets and leaves it up to member states to set some if they wish
- Incineration: A revision of the IPPC Directive (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) is to be tabled that will set a benchmark to improve energy recovery from municipal incinerators. The Commission says the new energy efficiency benchmark “will determine whether an incinerator can be identified as a recovery facility instead of a disposal facility”.