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European Parliament Progress On Waste Framework Directive

ESA Welcomes European Parliament’s Progress On Waste Framework Directive

Commenting from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, ESA Chief Executive Dirk Hazell said, in broadly welcoming today’s votes by the European Parliament at the First Reading of the new Waste Framework Directive:-

“Today’s marathon vote was progress in several respects. While some technical aspects (such as the mechanics of applying a five stage hierarchy and whether a definition of ‘by-products’ should indeed be within the Directive) will need to be hammered out between the Parliament and European Governments in the Council of Ministers, there was progress in several areas:-

End of waste: The Parliament has improved the Commission’s proposals for turning properly treated waste into a recycled product. The Commission should now proceed urgently to secure a robust European standard for compost and digestate from anaerobic digestion to help Member States like the UK to comply with the Landfill Directive;

Producer responsibility: we are delighted that the Parliament has given real teeth to producer responsibility. This can be a really big driver across Europe towards much more sustainable life cycles for the products we buy;

Recycling: While targets for higher recycling need to be justified on the basis of both environmental criteria such as carbon footprints and economic criteria such as affordability, it is good news that the Parliament resisted calls to confine recovery to the Member State where waste originated. Open markets for recovery are essential to provide the best economic and environmental solutions and are vital to sustaining the UK’s rapid increases in recycling;

Energy from waste: Despite really intensive lobbying and a large number of tabled amendments, the Parliament had the good sense to reject extreme proposals to outlaw energy from waste facilities and, indeed, accepted that such facilities can count as legitimate recovery.

It is also helpful to the UK that recovery of energy from landfill gas was expressly recognised as recovery. We agree with the Rapporteur, Dr Caroline Jackson MEP that energy recovery is an essential complement to recycling to enable our sector to mitigate global warming and we urge the Parliament to work constructively with the Council to provide practicable operational guidance;

Read more at ESA News.

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