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Don’t bin it! Europe needs the waste package

Don't pack it! Europe needs waste package

80% of Europeans want their country to reduce waste, while most Europeans want more recycling in Europe, and business leaders warn of rising resource prices and the need to improve resource efficiency. So far, the EU is responding to this demand through a circular economy package, which is expected to create jobs and economic growth, promote recycling, promote new business models and reduce emissions.

However, according to leaked documents, the new European Commission headed by J.C. Juncker took office in November, hoping to withdraw proposals on many issues including waste packages. All in the name of growth and employment, get rid of unnecessary legislation and relax the approval of documents.

How solid are these arguments?

Employment and growth

According to the "old" European Commission:

"Achieving the new waste target will create 180,000 new jobs, while making Europe more competitive and reducing the need for expensive and rare resources."

But the new EC wants to revoke it and keep our existing system; a waste of resources and job opportunities.

Recycling is stagnant in Europe; we need waste packages!

The current Waste Framework Directive approved in 2010 was supposed to transform the EU into a “recycling society”, but due to a variety of reasons, the recovery rate has stagnated. The situation in 2012 was the same as in 2009-see figure -.

If the EU takes recourse efficiency seriously, it needs to improve its current waste legislation, and this is what the waste package plan will do. Don't pack it!

Compared with the disappointing results of municipalities adopting zero waste targets at the European level, the zero waste program does increase employment, recycling and economic activities, reduce waste and save money. Examples here and here.

Real opportunity to pass legislation

The Juncker Committee argued that it would withdraw legislation that has no "real chance of being adopted." The fact is that the European Commission’s initiative to withdraw its garbage program has been opposed by 11 member states, most of the business community-except for the reactionary organization "Commercial Europe"-city and regional organizations, as well as all non-governmental organizations and civil society groups.

The EC believes that it is reasonable to withdraw under the condition that "no agreement is expected between the EP and the committee", but this is normal at the beginning of any negotiation process! If the new European Community only proposes legislation when the agreement between the European Parliament and the Council is guaranteed, then before any political negotiations, it will set the ambitions of pushing the European Union forward to be low. Can not accept.

Why wait to come up with an alternative?

The EC spokesperson stated that "EC believes in the goal of the proposal" and that the abandoned proposal "will be proposed again, but in a different and more effective way." If this is true, it would be procedurally wrong to withdraw the legislation without proposing an alternative plan to achieve the same goal, or at least promise to propose an alternative proposal before a certain date. When the EU is racing against time in the areas of resource efficiency and job creation, it is irresponsible to act in this area.

In summary, if the new EC's decision to withdraw the waste package is confirmed, it can state:

– It is politically contradictory because it undermines the potential for job creation and economic activity that the same EC claims to pursue,

– It is not based on facts. Objectively, the EU needs to take measures to improve recycling and resource efficiency.

– Withdrawing an important job without proposing an alternative is procedurally problematic. As long as no alternative is proposed, the EC cannot claim that it supports the goals of a circular economy.

The decision to withdraw the waste package will go against the needs of European citizens and the needs of European citizens. This also sends the wrong signal to those in the world who think that the EU is the leader in resource management.

The waste package should be retained, or a reliable alternative to achieve the same goal should be proposed as soon as possible. Europe needs waste packages.

Joan Mark Simon

Executive Director of Zero Waste Europe

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