EU Commission to assess circular economy proposals

Posted on 1st September, 2015

Consistent waste reporting and compulsory separate collections of biowaste are among the proposals that have been floated in the EU Commission’s consultation on the circular economy.

As the waste industry anticipates the launch of the Commission’s circular economy package this autumn, the Environmental Services Association, Resource Association and the Renewable Energy Association have offered their views on what should be included.

Responding to the 12-week consultation, which ended in August, the UK resource trade bodies stated ‘more harmonised’ definitions and methods of calculating waste statistics should be a main policy option.

ESA in particular proposed minimum recycled content requirements for selected products, as well as minimum green public procurement requirements to boost purchase of recycled materials.

EUOther suggestions include a zero rate of VAT on second hand goods, eco-labelling rules to incorporate indications of a product’s recyclability, and tougher waste crime enforcement.

REA and the Resource Association meanwhile backed mandatory separate collection of biowaste in the UK by 2020 – which includes household and commercial garden, food and kitchen waste – as well as limitations on incineration without recovery.

The REA believes that councils’ trend of charging for household green waste collections is reducing the available tonnages, which should be discouraged by the Commission.

Circular economy proposals received by the Commission are currently under assessment and could be adopted in the final legislation, alongside higher recycling targets for EU member states.

CHEM Trust, an environmental protection charity, has also responded to the consultation with a request from the EU commission to reassess the risk of recycling some materials known to contain hazardous chemicals.