3. Competition and innovation are vital for the circular economy
The private sector plays a pivotal role in waste management in Europe and its part should be recognised accordingly. The role of the public and private sectors in waste collection varies widely between Member States, and is a matter for Member States to decide (see Article 15 “Responsibility for waste management” of the Waste Framework Directive). FEAD members welcome that the Commission recognised the neutrality of the definition of municipal waste: “The definition of municipal waste in this Directive is neutral with regard to the public or private status of the operator managing waste.”
To ensure the uniform application of neutrality of the definition of municipal waste across the EU, it should be made legally binding by including it in the legislative part of the proposal. Furthermore, a recent study from the Commission confirmed that “Involving the private sector in collection and treatment can help reduce costs and reduce the management burden.” Open markets and fair competition are of key importance to facilitate the move from a linear to a more circular economy. To do so, market based conditions and competitive tenders must be introduced in the whole value chain. Open markets and fair competition stimulate the most cost efficient customised services and solutions, and the best possibilities for innovation and investment. They also help SMEs to enter the market. A level playing field between private and public operators is crucial to maximise competitiveness within the sector and would help unlock more green growth and jobs in Europe.