The consultation for the Targets Review Project has now been launched by the European Commission, with responses needed by the 10th of September 2013. The consultation document is a broad-ranging investigation into the future of waste management which could result in a genuine move away from incineration and towards higher legally binding recycling targets across the EU, and everyone with an interest in true Zero Waste should be encouraged to take part.

As previously detailed by UKWIN, the September 2011 Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe includes the milestone that: “By 2020, waste is managed as a resource. Waste generated per capita is in absolute decline. Recycling and re-use of waste are economically attractive options for public and private actors due to widespread separate collection and the development of functional markets for secondary raw materials. More materials, including materials having a significant impact on the environment and critical raw materials, are recycled. Waste legislation is fully implemented… Energy recovery is limited to non recyclable materials, landfilling is virtually eliminated and high quality recycling is ensured.”

This sentiment was carried forward in the European Parliament’s May 2012 resolution, and more generally as part of the European Resource Efficiency Platform. This latest consultation, which takes the form of a short questionnaire for ‘citizens’ and a longer technical consultation, is a chance for people to have their say on what Europe should do to ensure a closed-loop circular economy and so it is important to take part and to encourage other to do the same. UKWIN will be making a submission on the technical part of the consultation, not least because many of the most interesting questions are only contained within the full consultation.

The consultation asks for views on limiting incineration to anywhere between 10-55% of waste for specific waste streams by 2025. There is talk on specific food waste recycling targets, and consultees are able to add ‘food’ as a waste stream where incineration should be restricted. Respondents are asked to give preferences on recycling rates up to 90%+ for various waste streams by 2020-2025.

Other matters subject to this consultation include seeking views on potential plans to:

  • Introduce targets for the progressive reduction in the quantity of residual waste irrespective of how it is subsequently managed (whether it is sent to incineration, MBT or landfill, or any other residual waste management method).
  • Progressively include all biodegradable wastes (not just biodegradable wastes of municipal origin) within targets similar to the existing ones.
  • Further tighten existing targets (e.g. move progressively towards zero biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill).
  • Develop criteria for municipalities to implement services of a minimum standard to enable sorting of a range of waste materials for recycling and composting / anaerobic digestion.
  • Ensure a closer monitoring by the Commission of progress accomplished by Member States in applying the waste hierarchy. For those Member States moving too slowly to meet the legally binding targets, develop mechanisms to ensure that key instruments such as a
    combination of economic and legal instruments (landfill/incineration taxes/bans, EPR schemes, incentives for municipalities and citizens, etc.) are applied.

UKWIN has recently made submissions to two other consultations. As detailed on the UKWIN Consultations page, UKWIN took part in the European Commission Public Consultation on the Green Paper on Plastic Waste and responded to the UK Government’s consultation on a notification process for new build dedicated biomass project.

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