Packaged Criticised for Lowering Targets & Failing on Food Waste : Zero Waste Europe Blasts Circular Economy Package as “Too Weak”

zero waste europe circular economy

The recently published, and long awaited, Circular Economy Package from the EU Commission has been criticised as being too weak to work by Zero Waste Europe.

The organisation claimed that although the benefits expected from a transition to a circular economy are huge, the proposed legislation and action plan will not be sufficient to create such a systemic change.

“The proposed package opens with the same scope as the former proposal and contains some positive elements, such as the obligation for member states to align waste management pricing with waste hierarchy, but it’s not a more ambitious proposal,” asserted Joan Marc Simon, executive director of Zero Waste Europe.”

“The new waste legislation has been watered down as compared to 2014’s package, while the action plan is mostly a patchwork of very vague policy proposals, some of them not expected to be implemented until the end of the current Commission mandate,” he continued.

ZWE said that the legislative waste proposal is relatively similar to that of 2014, albeit “substantially weaker”.

“Some minor improvements have been included,” Simon conceded. “Such as the introduction of a system to monitor residual waste, and the promotion of reuse of WEEE, textiles and furniture.”

Other positive elements highlighted by the organisation were the expected improvement of methodologies and higher clarity in definitions and minimum requirements for EPR schemes that it said could pave the way to better eco-design along the lines drawn in the recent report about redesigning producer responsibility published by ZWE.

However, ZWE said that the legislative proposal was not so good and fails to address prevention and reuse, it even goes so far as to eliminate food waste and marine litter reduction targets. It said that it is less ambitious on separate biowaste collection, lowers waste recycling targets and does little to avoid the “lock-in” effects caused by ‘zero waste to landfill’ strategies.

“Our case studies of Contarina, Ljubljana and Gipuzkoa showcase how it is possible to achieve +70% recycling rates as well as substantial waste reduction in less than 10 years whilst reducing management costs and creating local jobs,” noted Simon,

“We hope the codecision process that kicks off today will deliver more than what the Commission proposes and not less than what is feasible and necessary to move towards a Circular Economy.” He concluded.

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