According to Zero Waste Europe, the committee’s opinion recognises the transition to a Circular Economy as an important objective that the Cohesion Fund should serve.
In this matter, the ENVI committee proposed to direct EU funding to higher waste hierarchy options – waste prevention, reuse and recycling – to help member states advance towards a Circular Economy, while excluding funding for residual waste treatment facilities, e.g. waste incineration and MBT (Mechanical Biological Treatment).
From Zero Waste Europe Perspective, the ENVI committee opinion acknowledges the importance of moving away from supporting primarily waste disposal and recovery operations in Member States and focus on the waste management options at the top of the waste hierarchy – waste prevention, reuse and recycling – instead.
This is particularly relevant for Central and Eastern European countries (CEE) that have invested over 50% of the Cohesion Funding into residual waste treatment whilst underinvested in developing separate collection and recycling schemes. This puts several of them at risk of not meeting the objectives of the waste framework directive for 2020.
Janek Vahk, Development and Policy Coordinator at Zero Waste Europe (ZWE), said: “Adding more residual waste treatment capacity risks undermining the current and 2035 targets such as higher separate collection and recycling requirements.“
For ZWE, the ENVI committee has clearly reacted to the Commission’s report on the implementation of EU waste directives noticing that half of the EU countries face the risk of not meeting their 2020 waste obligations. It backs the Commission recommendation to make more effective use of EU funds by ensuring that co-financing supports the development of waste management infrastructures encouraging waste prevention, reuse and recycling performance, rather than investing in residual waste treatment, thus helping Member States to meet their 2020 and 2035 waste obligations.