Potential new bio-waste legislation – food and garden waste benefits exemplified
Introducing ambitious Europe-wide targets for the separate collection of both food and garden waste could offer environmental and cost benefits worth more than â‚¬7billion (Â£6 billion) between 2013 and 2020, according to a report published as part of the European Commission's work on potential new EU bio-waste legislation.
The study, entitled ‘Assessment of the options to improve the management of bio-waste in the EU' was published earlier this year with little fanfare by consultants ARCADIS and Eunomia, to look at the relative benefits and costs of various potential policy measures to deal with bio-degradable waste.
It emerged as the European Parliament's environment committee is set to consider a draft report this week (April 28) drawn up by one of its members that urges the European Commission to develop proposals for a specific bio-waste directive by the end of 2010.
This could provide renewed momentum for supporters of separate legislation on bio-waste, in the face of recent indications that the Commission did not wish to pursue a legislative proposal.
The consultants' report concluded that, in all cases where separate targets for collecting the two waste streams were included, there would be a “significant” net benefit to society. The benefit would be increased even further if the food waste was treated using anaerobic digestion (AD), due to the reduced greenhouse gas emissions that brings, it added.
It compares the approach with a ‘baseline' scenario which assumes EU member states meet the targets for diverting waste from landfill set by the EU Landfill Directive, including a “minimum quantity” of treatment of bio-waste to reach this goal.
The targets outlined in the report as a “high ambition” scenario are 60% for food waste and 90% for green waste to be reached by 2020, with all garden waste above a 2006 baseline level being treated using in-vessel composting and food waste being sent for either IVC or AD.
The report also claimed that there were longer term benefits from providing additional treatment of bio-waste, explaining that: “The additional treatment of source separated bio-waste develops a significant annual benefit to society from 2020 onwards.
“This is of great importance since, given that nearly 40% of the total benefit occurs in 2020, the continued benefits, beyond the period modelled in this study, will remain significant,” it added.
The report is intended to support the Commission's continuing work on potentially developing a separate legislative proposal for bio-waste, such as a possible ‘Bio-waste Directive'.
A green paper looking at future options for managing bio-waste in the European Union was published by the Commission in December 2008, raising hopes that a separate legislative proposal could be brought forward.
Read the full news items at Organics Recycling.