The Commission’s proposed life-cycle approach on prevention and recycling of waste has been given “clear recognition” by the informal environment Council. Decoupling and targets are still a long way off.
The ministers have confirmed the Commission’s general
approach to treat waste issues throughout the whole life-cycle of a
product, especially in terms of production processes. The
discussions focused on the following issues:
- Decoupling: To prevent waste from accumulating, it had been
proposed that waste growth be decoupled from economic growth. But
it emerged from the meeting that the road to such a prevention
policy was “still a long one”. The issue of targets has remained
undecided with the ministers saying that it will require “further
- Materials-based approach: Ministers discussed the co-existence
with existing EU recycling legislation (WEEE, Packaging and
End-of-Life Vehicle directives). Their main concern there is to
“maintain a balanced co-existence” with those existing policies and
to avoid additional complexities.
- Standards for recycling: All ministers agreed that common
standards were desirable in that they help to establish a level
playing field between the 25 EU Member States. But they said that
further studies on how they can be applied will be needed before
they can be adopted.
- Economic instruments: Competence in this field, especially
since they are related to taxes, “should rest with the Member
States”. However, they decided that if so-called ‘pay-as-you-throw’
schemes were to be adopted, they would have to be developed at