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Empowering Our Communities To Redesign

Policy Briefing: the Waste Sector under the Effort Sharing Decision

Today, Zero Waste Europe released a new policy briefing on the waste sector under the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) with key recommendations to ensure real GHG emission reductions in the waste sector.

Read the full Policy Briefing

Greenpeace volunteers end incinerator occupation. Eleven Greenpeace volunteers ended their occupation of Sheffield incinerator after protecting the people of the city of polluting gases for three days. The volunteers occupying the plant maintain that they acted lawfully but have agreed to comply with an injunction from Leeds High Court ©Greenpeace/Sims GREENPEACE HANDOUT/NO ARCHIVING /NO MAGAZINES
Greenpeace volunteers end incinerator occupation.
Eleven Greenpeace volunteers ended their occupation of Sheffield incinerator after protecting the people of the city of polluting gases for three days.
©Greenpeace/Sims
GREENPEACE HANDOUT/NO ARCHIVING /NO MAGAZINES

The Effort Sharing Decision, which will set targets for GHG emission reduction in the waste sector for 2030, has so far considered only a portion of emissions in the waste sector, mainly those related to landfills and incinerators.

However, this assumption is misguided and incorrect, as the waste sector involves a much larger range of activities and a much larger portion of GHG emissions that unfortunately go unaccounted. In fact, the waste sectors contribution to GHG emission reduction has enormous potential when support is given to the higher tiers of the Waste hierarchy -including reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, biogas generation, sustainable consumption and production, and it can be a game-changer to the development of a low-carbon economy.

“The waste sector is a large and untapped sector with a significant potential for cost effective mitigation.”

Looking at the potential contribution of the waste sector to a low-carbon economy, recent research calculated the climate contribution from the optimal implementation of the Circular Economy Package waste targets (2014 version). Assuming the implementation of a 70% recycling, 30% of food waste reduction, and an 80% recycling of packaging waste, the EU would save 190 million/tones CO2 -eq/year, which would be the equivalent to the total annual emissions of the Netherlands.

IMG-20151209-WA0000

“Unreported emissions from incineration of waste act as a loophole in the EU GHG emission accounting”

The Effort Sharing Decision 2030 framework has the potential to further reduce emissions in the waste sector, and this is an opportunity that should not be missed. In order to deliver effective GHG emission reductions, the new 2030 framework should follow some key recommendations both for the overall framework and in particular for the waste sector:

  1. Be aligned with the Circular Economy Package and the Waste Hierarchy, ensure support for the most environmental and cost-effective options for reducing emissions in the waste sector. This will lead to significant GHG emission reductions and reinforce the synergies between European climate, energy and waste legislation.
  2. Increase ambition in line with the Paris Agreement, with a long-term goal to limit temperature increase to well below 2°C, and pursue efforts for limiting it to 1.5°C. This will require the development of a solid set of guidelines and robust governance to ensure the effective implementation of sectoral policies.
  3. Avoid loopholes and apply the correct carbon accounting of biogenic emissions from biowaste or biomass. The reformed ESD should contribute to correct carbon accounting of bioenergy emissions and secure strict compliance with bioenergy sustainability criteria in order to guarantee real emissions savings.
  4. Avoid the use of surplus allowances from the EU Emission Trading System (ETS) to increase the appropriate incentives for the development of a low-carbon economy where real emissions reductions are guaranteed.
  5. Support Member States’ ability to meet their climate targets and provide guidance for governance and compliance, including annual reduction targets and effective corrective actions to avoid non-compliance as well as transparency mechanisms to allow effective monitoring of Member States’ action.

With the incorporation of these recommendations Effort Sharing Decision would dramatically increase its effectiveness in tackling greenhouse gas emissions, particularly the otherwise underestimated portion from the waste sector.

Read and download the full policy briefing on our website


Network of Zero Waste Towns meeting in Capannori

Zero Waste Network of Towns Meeting (Capannori)

On May 20th, 21st and 22nd the first Zero Waste European city, Capannori (Italy) hosted a meeting of the Network of Zero Waste Cities. The event intended to bring together local authorities and civil society organisations so as to exchange good practices on waste management.

The meeting started on Friday the 20th with the welcoming words of the mayor of Capannori, Luca Menesini, and Rossano Ercolini, President of Zero Waste Italy, which were followed by the presentation of four cases of cities working towards zero waste: Capannori and Parma (Italy), Hernani (Basque Country) and Miramas (France).

The presentation served to showcase how zero waste can be implemented and be the driver of waste management policies in different legal realities in which municipalities have a different range of competences. In all these cases, political will along with the engagement of civil society has been the key driver for transition.

Next, Joan Marc Simon, Executive Director of Zero Waste Europe and Enzo Favoino, Coordinator of the Scientific Committee of Zero Waste Europe, presented the ‘network of Zero Waste cities’ and the steps for a city to become a zero waste municipality.

In the afternoon, a study visit was organised to the reuse centre Daccapo, to the Technological Pole of Lucca and to the Zero Waste Research Centre of Capannori.

Joan Marc on the Network of Towns Panel
Network of Towns panel with Joan Marc Simon

On the 21st the participants learned about the specificities of the separate collection system in Capannori and the Mamme No Inceneritore movement that is fighting for Zero Waste and against incineration in Florence was presented and who helped organise the 20,000 strong demonstration in Florence on May 14th. This was followed by a conference was devoted to the citizen-led legislative initiative on Zero Waste that is under discussion at the Italian Parliament. Three specific workshops on ‘supporting and controlling Zero Waste cities’, ‘waste collection companies and Zero Waste’ and ‘innovation and Circular Economy’ were organised. After that, a visit to the Zero Waste shop Efecorta was organised.

The meeting concluded on the 22nd with an award ceremony to Italian companies committed to Zero Waste or innovating to reduce waste.


20,000 people oppose incineration in Florence

Tens of thousands of people marched in Florence, Italy on Saturday May 14th, in opposition to the incineration project in the city. With over 200 groups supporting the action over 20,000 people turned out to express their opposition to the incinerator. Around the world campaigning groups and activists demonstrated their support for the people of Florence.

Watch Zero Waste Italy’s video from the demonstration:

The local group Mamme No Incineritore had a strong presence on the demonstration, presenting a powerful message of opposition to the incineration plans for Florence.

Mamme No Incineritore, Florence, May 14th
Mamme No Incineritore, Florence, May 14th

Campaigners from Za Zemiata (Friends of the Earth) Bulgaria organised a solidarity action with messages in support of the demonstration in Florence.


In the UK, the UK Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) sent a message of support from their Annual General Meeting to the people of Florence. Stating ‘DON’T BURN OUR FUTURE’.

UKWIN demonstrating solidarity with Florence at their AGM
UKWIN demonstrating solidarity with Florence at their AGM

Other groups who expressed their support included the Philippine Mother Earth Foundation and the EcoWaste Coalition.

Overall the massive demonstration of opposition to the incinerator in Florence struck a significant blow to the Italian plans, and signified an important victory for the zero waste movement in Italy, demonstrating their strength and unity in fighting for a new waste paradigm, which follows the Waste Hierarchy and puts the idea of burning waste on the trash heap where it belongs.


Human chain to stop incinerator in Gipuzkoa

cadena humana gipuzkoa

On Sunday May 29 2016 citizens in Gipuzkoa have come together to hold hans in a human chain uniting thousands of citizens against the proposal to build an incinerator in Zubieta. 5000 people were needed to create this human chain from the Oncologic Hospital and the Regional government but the support for the action has been such that the human chain has turned into a big demonstration in the streets of the capital of the basque province, Donosti, San Sebastian.

The mobilisation wanted to deliver to the authorities a letter written by the association of doctors Onkologikoa. The message was placed inside a box and given to a child, who leading a comitive of cyclists has driven along the human chain until the Gizpuzkoa Square where sits the regional authority responsible for the construction of the incinerator.

The message read “There are many reasons to be against this incinerator, but as doctors we want to emphasize: incinerators are harmful to health” has started reading the doctor Xabier Mitxelena. He indicated that “we do not want that, through neglect, repeat what happened with asbestos. Several years after thinking it was safe, now many people who have worked with asbestos are dying of cancer. “

 

gipuzkoa speech

To give credence to these words the event welcomed the presence of Clara Perales, a resident of Rivas-Vaciamadrid, suburb of Madrid who has lived 4.5 kilometers close to the waste incinerator of Valdemingómez. She affirmed that she never had serious health problems until the incinerator started operating when she started to suffer respiratory problems which in 2014 resulted in a blood cancer in Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

 

Clara Perales cried “I am not the only one with cancer in my community. In my block of ten houses we are ten people; out of which two have died and three are being treated with chemotherapy. You are still in time to stop this incinerator in Zubieta. Health and clean air is a common good and have no ideology”.

 

Teresa Lopez de Munain, on behalf of the organisers of the event, continued reading the manifesto of the event and reminded to anyone who would want to listen; “Those who have a brain don’t want an incinerator close to their homes but those who have a heart don’t want an incinerator anywhere close to anything”

Mentions of this event in the press:

– El Diario Norte “Miles de personas en la cadena humana contra la incineradora de Gipuzkoa
– Diario Vasco “Milaka lagun bildu dira Donostian, erraustegiaren aurkako giza katean“, “Miles de personas forman una cadena humana en contra de la incineradora“.
– El Mundo “Miles de personas forman una cadena contra la incineradora
– ARGIA “Milaka pertsonak osatu du giza katea Donostian errauskailuaren aurka“, “Giza kate erraldoiak ezetz esan dio errauskailuari Donostian
– Berria “Milaka lagunek egin dute bat erraustegiaren aurka
– Noaua ““Aurreikuspenak oso modu nabarmenean gainditu dira”“, “Erraustegiaren Aurkako Mugimendua: “Denon artean geldituko dugu”“, “Xabier Mitxelena (OEIT): “Ardura printzipioa aplika dezatela”“, “[Bideoa] Giza katea, maiatzak 29“.
– Txintxarri “Eskutatik helduta, erraustegiari “ez” esan diote [Lasarte-Oriako] 1.000tik gora herritarrek Donostian
– Topatu “Gipuzkoa plaza hartu dute hainbat herritarrek, errauskailuari ezezkoa eman eta egungo politika ustela eraldatzeko
– Sustatu “Gipuzkoa plaza hartu dute Gipuzkoa Zutik plataformakoek”
– Gara-Naiz “Donostiako Gipuzkoa plazan erraustegiaren aurkako gunea antolatzen hasi dira“, “Exitosa cadena humana contra la incineradora en Donostia“, “La respuesta ciudadana contra la incineradora supera las expectativas“, “Con la incineración, de sabios es rectificar
– EITB “Miles de personas protestan contra la incineradora en Donostia“, “Pertsona ugarik Gipuzkoa Plazan eman dute gaua, erraustegiaren aurka


Press Release: EU Bioenergy – time to follow the Waste Hierarchy

Press Release: EU Bioenergy – time to follow the Waste Hierarchy

Zero Waste Europe’s response to the public consultation on the EU’s post-2020 sustainable bioenergy policy.

For immediate release: Brussels, 10/05/16

Today, the Zero Waste Europe network and many other organisations around the world have called on the European Commission to use the Waste Hierarchy to guide the EU’s post-2020 sustainable bioenergy policy and phase out harmful subsidies that support energy from organic waste incineration. According to the Waste Hierarchy, biowaste should first beprevented , then fed to humans or animals, and finally used for composting or anaerobic digestion, as these are solutions that can deliver the greatest greenhouse gas emission reductions, as well as other co-benefits.

The main recommendations for a Sustainable Bioenergy Policy, included in Zero Waste Europe’s official response to the consultation are:

1. EU climate and energy policies should be aligned with the Waste Hierarchy embedded in the Circular Economy Package, respecting the priority for reduction or composting/Anaerobic Digestion, before incineration.

It is time for the EU Climate and Energy Policy to fully account for the contribution of the waste sector to a Low Carbon Economy, and foster appropriate alignment for the most climate-friendly options in the waste management sector, as described in the Waste Hierarchy. In particular the Sustainable Policy on Bioenergy should explicitly exclude Municipal Solid Waste as a source of sustainable energy.

2. Harmful renewable energy subsidies to extract energy from residual waste should be phased out.

Extracting energy from residual waste is a net contributor to green house gas emissions inventories rather than a saver.3 These harmful subsidies are one of the major obstacles to fully implementing a Circular Economy, this being an extremely counterproductive misalignment between two fundamental pillars of current EU policy. This is a fundamental mis-allocation of resources and they should be discontinued without delay.

3. EU Climate and Energy Policy should work towards valuing energy embedded in products and establishing an energy preservation paradigm rather than burning limited natural resources for the extraction of energy.

Energy policies for a low-carbon economy should progressively move away from extracting as much energy as possible from waste and instead increase measures to preserve the embedded energy in products, a far more efficient and sustainable approach to resources.

In conclusion, the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive and the development of a Sustainable Policy on Bioenergy is an opportunity for Europe to become a leader in, sustainable and renewable energy, but it’s critical to ensure that these sources are clean, efficient and science-based.

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, UK: “We must stop investing in damaging incineration that runs counter to the idea of a circular economy and undermines a waste hierarchy which prioritises waste prevention, recycling, composting and anaerobic digestion.”

Mariel Vilella, Zero Waste Europe Associate Director: “We should all aim for 100% Renewable Energy, but none of it will do any favors to climate change mitigation if it ends up increasing deforestation, incineration, resource depletion and air pollution. Renewable should synonymous with clean and sustainable energy, and unfortunately right now it’s not the case”.

Antigone Dalamaga, Director of Ecological Recycling Society & President of RREUSE Network: “We must focus on implementing the upper levels of the Waste Hierarchy. Prevention, reuse, recycling and composting protects the environment and creates jobs. Incinerating organic waste is not an environmentally sustainable or economically viable option compared to the alternatives of composting and anaerobic digestion.”

Flore Berlingen, Director of Zero Waste France: “In France and across Europe, zero waste strategies that prioritize waste prevention, reuse, recycling and composting are gaining momentum. The EU Sustainable Bioenergy Policy should follow the Waste Hierarchy and contribute to this positive trend, making sure that organic waste is used in the most climate-friendly way”.

Marko Košak, Zero Waste Programme Coordinator, Zelena Akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia: “Biowaste isn’t trash for polluting incineration or landfilling activities, it is a valuable resource for quality compost and source of renewable energy through anaerobic digestion and biogas production. Many municipalities in Croatia have chosen the zero waste road showing it is possible to make a sustainable use of biowaste.”

ENDS

NOTES

Read the official submission from Zero Waste Europe to the EU public consultation

For a full list of signatories check our sign-on page

Zero Waste Europe – Zero Waste Europe is an umbrella organisation empowering communities to rethink their relationship with resources. It brings together local Zero Waste groups and municipalities present in 20 EU countries. Beyond recycling, the Zero Waste network aims at reducing waste generation, close the material loop whilst increasing employment and designing waste out of the system. www.zerowasteeurope.eu


NGOs call the EP to get the Circular Economy Back on Track

For immediate release: Brussels, May 10, 2016.

This press release is now available in Croatian

11 NGOs including Zero Waste Europe have called on the European Parliament to introduce 10 key changes to get the circular economy back on track. These ten changes intend to maximize the potential of a circular economy and eliminate loopholes that could be used by Member States to avoid necessary action.

Reacting to the Circular Economy Package presented on December 2, 2015, Zero Waste Europe welcomes the initiative of the EC to widen of the scope of the Circular Economy, however it warns about the fact that the ambition regarding waste legislation has been weakened in comparison with the 2014 proposal.

The document 10 KEY STEPS primarily calls for addressing directly waste prevention, by including waste generation reduction targets and capping residual waste. Additionally, the NGOs call for the bringing back of the 2014 recycling targets and for the setting of binding food waste and marine litter reduction targets. Another of the key demands is the need to ensure that all recyclable waste is separately collected and the modulation of EPR based on the environmental impact of products.

According to Joan Marc Simon, Executive Director of Zero Waste Europe, “the EU should  approach waste holistically; the Parliament and the Council should give to circular economy the ambition that the Commission failed to deliver”. Mr Simon added that “The non-binding waste hierarchy has proven to be insufficient to create virtuous waste management; we need specific actions and targets to reduce food waste, marine litter and residual waste and close the existing loopholes in order to move away from landfills and incinerators”.

ENDS

All steps

EU Bioenergy: Time to follow the Waste Hierarchy

Zero Waste Europe’s response to the public consultation on the EU’s post-2020 sustainable bioenergy policy.

Compost from separately collected foodwaste

Today, the Zero Waste Europe network and many other organisations around the world have called on the European Commission to use the Waste Hierarchy to guide the EU’s post-2020 sustainable bioenergy policy and phase out harmful subsidies that support energy from organic waste incineration. According to the Waste Hierarchy, biowaste should first beprevented , then fed to humans or animals, and finally used for composting or anaerobic digestion, as these are solutions that can deliver the greatest greenhouse gas emission reductions, as well as other co-benefits.

Click here to read our full submission to the Bioenergy Consultation.

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, UK: We must stop investing in damaging incineration that runs counter to the idea of a circular economy and undermines a waste hierarchy which prioritises waste prevention, recycling, composting and anaerobic digestion.

The main recommendations for a Sustainable Bioenergy Policy, included in Zero Waste Europe’s official response to the consultation are:

1. EU climate and energy policies should be aligned with the Waste Hierarchy embedded in the Circular Economy Package, respecting the priority for reduction or composting/Anaerobic Digestion, before incineration.

It is time for the EU Climate and Energy Policy to fully account for the contribution of the waste sector to a Low Carbon Economy, and foster appropriate alignment for the most climate-friendly options in the waste management sector, as described in the Waste Hierarchy. In particular the Sustainable Policy on Bioenergy should explicitly exclude Municipal Solid Waste as a source of sustainable energy.

Mariel Vilella, Zero Waste Europe Associate Director: “We should all aim for 100% Renewable Energy, but none of it will do any favors to climate change mitigation if it ends up increasing deforestation, incineration, resource depletion and air pollution. Renewable should synonymous with clean and sustainable energy, and unfortunately right now it’s not the case”.

2. Harmful renewable energy subsidies to extract energy from residual waste should be phased out.

Extracting energy from residual waste is a net contributor to Green House Gas emissions inventories rather than a saver.3 These harmful subsidies are one of the major obstacles to fully implementing a Circular Economy, this being an extremely counterproductive misalignment between two fundamental pillars of current EU policy. This is a fundamental mis-allocation of resources and they should be discontinued without delay.

3. EU Climate and Energy Policy should work towards valuing energy embedded in products and establishing an energy preservation paradigm rather than burning limited natural resources for the extraction of energy.

Energy policies for a low-carbon economy should progressively move away from extracting as much energy as possible from waste and instead increase measures to preserve the embedded energy in products, a far more efficient and sustainable approach to resources.

Organics Waste Hierarchy, Institute for Local Self-Reliance (2014)
Organics Waste Hierarchy, Institute for Local Self-Reliance (2014)

Antigone Dalamaga, Director of Ecological Recycling Society & President of RREUSE Network: “We must focus on implementing the upper levels of the Waste Hierarchy. Prevention, reuse, recycling and composting protects the environment and creates jobs. Incinerating organic waste is not an environmentally sustainable or economically viable option compared to the alternatives of composting and anaerobic digestion.”

In conclusion, the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive and the development of a Sustainable Policy on Bioenergy is an opportunity for Europe to become a leader in clean, sustainable and renewable energy, but it’s critical to ensure that these sources are clean, efficient and science-based.

Flore Berlingen, Director of Zero Waste France: “In France and across Europe, zero waste strategies that prioritize waste prevention, reuse, recycling and composting are gaining momentum. The EU Sustainable Bioenergy Policy should follow the Waste Hierarchy and contribute to this positive trend, making sure that organic waste is used in the most climate-friendly way”.