Representatives from the EU institutions, national governments, NGOs and the European waste and resource management industry attended the event which took place in the context of the IFAT Fair 2018.
Jean-Marc Boursier: “The theme of the day is debated at a very opportune moment: the Circular Economy Package has been adopted launching the beginning of hard work for the European Commission (EC) and Member States to ensure that the set targets are reached. In parallel, the EC is carrying out an evaluation of the Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR) which will pave the way to a potential revision of this Regulation in 2020. Furthermore, the recent measures introduced by China are a wake-up call for the European Union.”
According to Fead the debate is key also in the context of the on-going Brexit negotiations. According to Jacob Hayler, Environmental Services Association (UK), Brexit should not be an obstacle for the transition towards a circular economy and neighboring countries should continue to work closely together to “capitalize their potential”. It is our sector’s strong wish that the Brexit does not create imbalances in the waste markets, thereby ensuring stable waste movements between the UK and the continent.
Waste shipments should give us the opportunity to treat waste in line with the waste hierarchy, thereby helping some Member States in attaining the new recycling targets. Waste shipments for recovery contribute to the reduction of landfilling, hence they can be a temporary solution to tackle the lack of waste management capacity faced by some countries.
Peter Wessman from DG Environment, EC, explained that during the ongoing evaluation of the WSR, the EC has already identified several obstacles to waste shipments, e.g. the cost of the notification procedure. An increased use of pre-consented facilities and a possibility of a fast track notification system, currently being assessed, can be solutions to tackle the obstacles to waste markets for recovery.
Jean-Marc Boursier concluded that achieving a circular economy and a more resource efficient society will require major changes in the use of resources or even more – in our perception of waste. Not only do we need large investments to innovate and expand the separate collection, sorting and recycling capacity at EU level, we also need additional local demand through concrete and binding demand-side measures to uptake the recycled materials.