The event brought together waste management and recycling experts, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), Environment Attachés and EU officials to discuss the challenges faced by many Member States in implementing the legislation.
Despite the significance of the legislation, there is still a lack of political will in many Member States. The discussion focused on exploring the reasons behind this and finding sustainable solutions to overcome obstacles, with the debate covering a range of topics such as efficient waste shipments, the potential of waste-to-energy, the improvement of recycling rates, the instrumental played by recycled content targets to drive the transition towards a circular economy and the importance of enforcement to tackle combat illegal activities.
Pernille Weiss, MEP, highlighted that she wants the EU “to be the waste management’s innovation hub. I want every part of the waste ecosystem to be somehow related to the EU – from innovation and research, to development, trial, and error because we also need to allow for that, to grow -”.
EuRIC Secretary-General, Emmanuel Katrakis, said: “Implementing and enforcing waste legislation is essential to level the playing field and turn waste into resources. Yet, unhampered access to European and international markets, EU-wide end-of-waste criteria and recycled content targets are indispensable building blocks for the transition towards a climate-neutral and circular economy.”
MWE Secretary-General, Vanya Veras said: “To take a lead from the debate, what we need for a thriving, climate neutral and circular economy in Europe is Self-sufficiency, Self-sufficiency, Self-sufficiency. We’ll get that by implementing waste legislation and working together to collect clean waste streams by material, extracting every last grain of value through reuse, recycling, and recovery and keeping it within a circular loop.”
FEAD President, Claudia Mensi said: “Closing the implementation gap is essential to realizing the full potential of a circular economy. As a leading waste management industry covering all aspects of waste, we want a clear recognition that our industry has shifted from being a service provider at the end of a linear economy, to being at the core of the circular economy.”
CEWEP Secretary-General, Ella Stengler said: “We cannot afford to waste the materials and energy embedded in the waste. Therefore, we must properly enforce the European waste laws and the waste hierarchy. There is no turning back, not if we want to reach the environmental and climate goals that we strive for.”
Representing the European Commission, Mr. Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea stressed during his presentation that most of the EU Member States are at risk of missing the 2025 targets and that the bloc is facing data quality issues, with unreported waste in some EU countries. The Director of Circular Economy in the European Commission said that “we need to find a few key deliverables, which are also politically appealing and that mean something not only to the politicians here in Brussels, to the future Commissioners, but also to the politicians in the Member States, so that we can all work together to achieve this.”
We would like to extend our special thanks to Ms. Pernille Weiss, Rapporteur at the European Parliament and hostess of the event, to the Commission’s representative, Mr. Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea, and to MEPs Malte Gallée and Jan Huitema for their powerful speeches, as well as to also welcome the large interest expressed by attendees across Europe.