Slide background
Empowering Our Communities To Redesign

New study presents plan for Circular Economy using existing economic measures

Press Contact:
Joan Marc Simon, Zero Waste Europe, jm.simon@zerowasteeurope.eu +32 (0) 2 503 64 88

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Brussels, 12/07/17

A new study released today by the Reloop Platform and Zero Waste Europe, and produced by Rezero, demonstrates that existing economic instruments can bring Europe to the next stage of the Circular Economy. The study examines existing measures and incentive schemes, which have been used successfully for products such as beverage containers, and identifies additional key waste streams that could benefit from such measures.

It is predicted that the implementation of measures such as deposit refund schemes, refundable taxes and buy back schemes would lead to a major reduction of littering and a significant reduction in plastic pollution. Such instruments are already widely used in the private sector, but have yet to be fully utilised from a public policy perspective.

This study highlights the fact that, despite widespread support for the circular economy across all stakeholders, current fiscal policies continue to support a linear economy model. This is evident in the unacceptably low collection rates for textiles (<20%), cigarette butts (<35%), batteries (<40%), and even lower rates for other waste streams such as coffee capsules. Without strong economic incentives for collection, it is unlikely that these numbers will change.

Joan Marc Simon, Director of Zero Waste Europe, said:  “The move from a linear to a circular economy will require changing the economic incentives. This study provides a great toolbox to double or even triple collection rates for a variety of materials, including waste streams with existing EPR (extended producer responsibility) schemes.”

Clarissa Morawski, Managing Director of the Reloop Platform: “Deposit return have been used to capture high quantities of empty beverage containers for decades. With more than 35 successful systems around the world and growing, maybe it’s time for governments to consider this economic instrument for their own countries or regions. Just look to the best practice programs and follow their lead.”

The study proposes a number of economic instruments to increase the collection and recovery of various waste streams including:

  • A deposit system for mobile-phones: Proposes to complement the current EPR systems for WEEE with a refundable deposit applied on mobile phones in order to provide incentives to increase the collection rates of a product that contains a high number of scarce and strategic materials.
  • A new EPR system for carpets, which would help increase the currently low recycling rate (<3%) of this waste stream.
  • A deposit system for coffee-cups to promote the use of reusable cups, which will reduce the more than 15 billion units of disposable coffee-cups going to waste in Europe each year.

To achieve the ambitious goals of the Circular Economy it is essential to consider all possible measures. This study highlights the key steps that can be taken immediately, under existing legislation, to make Europe take a major leap forward towards a Circular Economy.

ENDS

NOTES

  1. Download the full study: Rethinking economic incentives for separate collection
  2. Zero Waste Europe: https://www.zerowasteeurope.eu
  3. Rezero: http://rezero.cat/
  4. Reloop Platform: http://reloopplatform.eu/

Press Release: Enough excuses: it’s time for EU Member States to break free from plastic bags

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Brussels, 03/07/17

Brussels, 3 July 2017 – More than 7 months after the transposition deadline of the EU Plastic bags directive, environmental NGOs celebrate today the 8th edition of the International Plastic Bag Free Day. In this important year where plastic pollution of ocean is considered a priority global concern, the compliance and ambition levels of EU Member States to reduce plastic bags fall short of expectations.

The 2015/720 Plastic bags directive was adopted in April 2015 to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags in Europe. Member States were to transpose it into their national legislations by 27 November 2016, and introduce measures to achieve the still modest but vital reduction objectives of 90 bags per person per year by 31 December 2019, and 40 bags by 31 December 2025.

More than 100 billion bags are used annually in Europe, and most end up in landfills, incinerators or as litter in and alongside aquatic environments, taking centuries to degrade and creating unprecedented damages to marine ecosystems. In addition, producing these bags requires millions of barrels of oil per year, significantly contributing to climate change.

The International Plastic Bag Free Day, celebrated around the World on July 3rd, is a unique occasion for our organisations and the whole Break Free From Plastic movement to spread the word that a plastic bag free world is possible, where sound environmental alternatives to single-use plastic bags are used and reused.

More than 7 months after the transposition deadline, the result has been disappointing, with many Member States showing a lack of reliability to the commitments they have made. Some have only taxed plastic bags, set voluntary agreements with the private sector, or simply relayed the Commission’s message about the risk posed by plastic pollution. It is unfortunate that Member States have demonstrated no audacity, ambition nor effectiveness in transposing this mandatory directive, to the detriment of the environment.

While the European Union is aiming at strengthening its profile as a leader against plastic pollution at the regional and international level, some of its members are undermining its efforts by inhibiting it from delivering on this topic of major importance, repeatedly praised by European citizens.

On this International Plastic Bag Free Day, we urge EU Member States to take more ambitious measures against plastic bag pollution, ensuring full compliance with the Plastic bags directive, and opting for the phasing out of single use plastic bags.

ENDS

PRESS CONTACTS:
Gaëlle Haut

Coordinator for the ‘Ban the Bag’ Campaign, Surfrider Foundation Europe
Delphine Lévi Alvarès
European Coordinator of the Break Free From Plastic movement, Zero Waste Europe

MORE INFORMATION
www.plasticbagfreeday.org
www.surfrider.eu/en/ban-the-bag
#EnoughExcuses: link to Surfrider Foundation Europe’s video and report
#BreakFreeFromPlastic: link to the Break Free From Plastic movement

SUPPORTING ORGANISATIONS

Ecological Recycling Society
http://elina.org.gr/en/ecorec
Ekologi brez meja
www.ebm.si
Environmental Investigation Agency
https://eia-international.org
European Environmental Bureau
http://eeb.org
Friends of the Earth Europe
www.foeeurope.org
Greenpeace
www.greenpeace.org
Humusz Waste Prevention Alliance
http://humusz.hu/english/about-humusz-hu
IGOZ (Institute for Circular Economy)
http://igoz.org
Let’s Do It Foundation
www.letsdoitworld.org
Plastic Soup Foundation
www.plasticsoupfoundation.org
Polish Zero Waste Association
www.otzo.most.org.pl/zwe
Polski Klub Ekologiczny
www.pke-zg.home.pl
Surfers Against Sewage
www.sas.org.uk
Surfrider Foundation Europe
www.surfrider.eu
Za Zemiata – Friends of the Earth Bulgaria
www.foeeurope.org/bulgaria
Zaja Briviba (Green Liberty)
www.zalabriviba.lv/greenliberty
ZERO – Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável
https://zero.ong
Zero Waste Europe
www.zerowasteeurope.eu
Zero Waste France
www.zerowastefrance.org/fr
Zero Waste Poland
www.facebook.com/zerowastepoland
Zero Zabor i.b.e (Basque Country)
www.zerozabor.org
Žiedinė ekonomika – Circular Economy (Zero Waste Lithuania)
http://circulareconomy.lt
Rezero

http://rezero.cat/

Zero Waste Romania

https://www.facebook.com/ZeroWasteRomania/

Zero Waste Croatia and Zelena Akcija

http://zelena-akcija.hr/en

 


PRESS RELEASE: European Parliament’s report calls for halt on harmful subsidies to waste incineration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Brussels, 07/06/17

Zero Waste Europe welcomes the ENVI committee’s draft report on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive. This report represents a first important step towards the alignment of EU energy and circular economy policies, by excluding financial support for incineration of mixed municipal solid waste.

“We have been calling for the elimination of financial support for energy extraction from mixed waste as this subverts one of the key cornerstones of the EU waste policy – the waste hierarchy” said Janek Vahk, Development and Policy Coordinator at Zero Waste Europe. Such a hierarchy establishes an order of priority in waste prevention and management: waste is therefore meant to be firstly prevented, then prepared for reuse, and recycled.

The effect of the financial support to waste to energy has so far resulted in a clear distortion of the market, whereby the choice of waste management options and the investment in waste infrastructure have been based on such subsidies, rather than on a sound environmental and economic performance. As a consequence, several European countries, e.g. Denmark and Sweden, have overinvested in energy from waste plants, whilst underinvesting in recycling facilities.

“We hope that this is now going to change – continued Vahk – and that the European Parliament will take on this report, and prioritise waste reduction, reuse and recycling over waste to energyschemes”.

ENDS

RESOURCES 

Zero Waste Europe’s position on the Revised Renewable Energy Directive

CONTACTS

Janek Vahk, Development and Policy Coordinator
janek@zerowasteeurope.eu
+32 (0) 2 503 64 88


IPEN PRESS RELEASE: At UN meeting, Canada and Chile stand alone trying to legitimize e-waste dumping and promote recycling of toxic chemical into children’s products

Geneva: Today, at the Stockholm Convention 8th Conference of the Parties, Chile and Canada surprised delegates by proposing to allow recycling materials containing a toxic flame retardant widely found in electronic waste (e-waste). The proposal violates the Stockholm Convention which explicitly prohibits recycling and reuse of substances on its list.

DecaBDE is used in the plastic casings of electronic products and if it is not removed, it is carried into new products when the plastic is recycled. Toxicity studies indicate potential adverse developmental, neurotoxic, and reproductive effects, and DecaBDE or its degradation products may also act as endocrine disruptors.

Ironically, a new IPEN study1 shows that the toxic recycling policy advocated by these countries widely contaminates children’s products. In fact, in Canada all sampled toys made of recycled plastic contained both OctaBDE and DecaBDE.

“How can these countries advocate a policy that potentially poisons children?”said Pam Miller, IPEN Co-Chair. “Recycling materials that contain toxic chemicals contaminates new products, continues exposure, and undermines the credibility of recycling.”

The treaty’s expert committee has warned against toxic recycling and explicitly recommended to eliminate these substances from the recycling streams “as swiftly as possible” noting that, “Failure to do so will inevitably result in wider human and environmental contamination… and in the loss of the long-term credibility of recycling”

The proposed recycling exemption also is tantamount to legalizing electronic waste (e-waste) dumping in developing countries which is cynically described as “recycling.”

“E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream and now it seems these countries want to make it legal and dump even more,” said Tadesse Amera, PAN Ethiopia. “OECD countries already sends us lots of e-waste and now it seems they want to increase our toxic burden – exactly opposite to the treaty’s goal.”

 

Contact:

Bjorn Beeler, IPEN

bjornbeeler@ipen.org

+46 3179 99 474

*******************************

1http://ipen.org/sites/default/files/documents/toxic_toy_report_2017_update_v1_5-final_en.pdf

 

IPEN is a global network of public interest organizations working in more than 100 countries to reduce and eliminate toxic substances.  www.ipen.org   twitter: @ToxicsFree

Press Release


Simona Bonafè drives Europe to a circular economy

For immediate release: Brussels, March 14, 2017

A future without waste in Europe is now closer to reality, after today, the European Parliament approved the Bonafè report. In a clear signal to both the Commission and the Council, the European Parliament has confirmed the increased ambition of the Environment Committee on four legislative proposals on waste. Now a common text needs to be agreed with the Council before it becomes law.

The Italian MEP Simona Bonafè has managed to raise the level of ambition of the Commission proposal by setting a 70% recycling target for all waste (5% to be prepared for reuse), 80% for packaging waste and by making separate collection truly compulsory, further extending it to bio-waste, textiles and waste-oils. In addition, the text generalises the use of economic instruments, such as pay-as-you-throw schemes and taxes or levies on landfilling and incineration.

Ferran Rosa, Zero Waste Europe’s Policy Officer said: “Zero Waste cities across Europe have already been successfully implementing the measures that were approved today. If the European Parliament decision becomes law they will become the mainstream”

The text adopted at the European Parliament today includes proposals to close the loop the call to review the Eco-design Directive with a broader scope and the emphasis on eco-design-guided Extended Producer Responsibility schemes to bring sustainable products.

Additionally, the report calls on the Commission to bring in new legislative proposals, such as a EU-wide waste prevention target in kg per capita along with new legislation and targets for construction, commercial and industrial waste. The role of prevention has also been improved with three aspirational targets (50% food waste reduction, 30% marine litter reduction and a decoupling of waste generation with economic growth) but remains far from being top priority.

Zero Waste Europe’s Rosa added: “The Parliament has raised the stakes for the circular economy. It’s time for the Member States to make it happen.” In this sense, Vice-President Timmermans when addressing the Parliament this morning acknowledged the emphasis on prevention and said he would do his best to make the final text be the closest to the one of the Parliament.

Zero Waste Europe congratulates the European Parliament and the team of rapporteurs and calls on the Council to accept these proposals.
ENDS

Contacts:
Ferran Rosa, Waste Policy Officer
ferran@zerowasteeurope.eu
+32 470 838 105


Press release: Future and financing waste-to-energy

For immediate release: Brussels, Bucharest, Ljubljana, Prague, Sofia, Warsaw, Vilnius, Zagreb, February 4, 2017

The European Commission’s recent communication on the role of waste-to-energy in the circular economy should be a clear signal for the Central and Eastern European authorities that the priority is prevention and recycling, and not waste incineration.

The countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have been granted 5.4 billion euro by the European Commission from the Cohesion and European Regional Development Fund to improve waste management systems for the period 2014-2020. The partnership agreements between the Commission and governments had been signed before the circular economy package was issued and established new and more progressive priorities for the management of waste by the Member States. However, while the agreements highlight that the financial support under the cohesion policy should be directed first of all to the development of selective waste collection and construction of infrastructure for recycling, they also allocate over 50 per cent of available money for “thermal treatment, incineration”. This caused CEE authorities to consider constructing over 80 waste incinerators (combined capacity over 5.42 million tonnes/a), and approximately 40 mechanical biological treatment facilities (MBT; combined capacity over 3.29 million tonnes/a)[1]. These investments may consume most available funds, and slow down, or maybe even block for years, implementation of a progressive waste reduction and recycling system.

Large scale investments into MBTs, waste incinerators, and other semi-innovative techniques based on unsorted municipal solid waste, have always led to conservation and locking in of systems based on co-mingled waste collection, and low recycling rates. It could be no different in CEE countries where average recycling rates are at 18 per cent and composting at 5 per cent. Slovenia is the only exception, where there has been substantial progress to reach 49 per cent recycling and 12 per cent composting, thanks to the wide implementation of zero waste methodologies.

Most CEE countries still have low or no incineration capacity, which provides a great opportunity to invest into systems that are less costly, and have much less impact on the health of society and the environment. These are systems focused on waste prevention, re-use, separate collection and recycling. The systems must be flexible and ready to accept increasing amounts of recyclables, which will be expected in a future as a result of higher recycling targets set by waste legislation within the Circular Economy package.

This opportunity has been recognized by the European Commission in recent communications:

Public funding should also avoid creating overcapacity for non-recyclable waste treatment such as incinerators. In this respect it should be borne in mind that mixed waste as a feedstock for waste-to-energy processes is expected to fall as a result of separate collection obligations and more ambitious EU recycling targets. For these reasons, Member States are advised to gradually phase-out public support for the recovery of energy from mixed waste[2].

and

[…] funding for new facilities for the treatment of residual waste, such as incineration or mechanical biological treatment, will be granted only in limited and well justified cases, where there is no risk of overcapacity and the objectives of the waste hierarchy are fully respected.[3]

Therefore the undersigned organizations call the Central and Eastern European governments as well as European institutions such as the European Investment Bank[4] and JASPERS to not assist and grant projects for the construction of waste incinerators and MBTs from public funds but instead to support investments into prevention, separate waste collection and recycling: a system which is coherent with circular economy priorities and targets.

 

Press contact:

Bulgaria: Evgenia Tasheva (+359) 879 899 426, e.tasheva@zazemiata.org

Croatia: Marko Košak, (+385) 989 752 335, marko@zelena-akcija.hr

Czech Republic: Ivo Kropáček, (+420) 604 207 302, ivo.kropacek@hnutiduha.cz

Hungary: Urbán Csilla, (+36) 1 386-2648, csilla@humusz.hu, Alexa Botár, (+36) 1 216-7297, alexa@mtvsz.hu

Lithuania: Domantas Tracevičius, (+370) 618 22 667, domantas@circulareconomy.lt

Poland: Paweł Głuszyński, (+48) 501 752 106, pawel@otzo.most.org.pl

Romania: Elena Rastei, +40 734 911 322, elena@zerowasteromania.org

Slovenia: Urša Zgojznik, (+386) 41 793 584, ursa.zgojznik@ocistimo.si

Friends of the Earth Europe: Meadhbh Bolger, (+32) 483 659 497, meadhbh.bolger@foeeurope.org

 

List of signatories:

Arnika – Toxics and Waste Programme

Alliance of Associations Polish Green Network (PZS)

Association New Idea (SNI)

Alter eko Foundation

CEE Bankwatch Network

Circular Economy Lithuania (ZE)

Ecologists Without Borders (EBM)

European Environmental Bureau (EEB)

Friends of the Earth Bulgaria (ZZ)

Friends of the Earth Croatia (ZA)

Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (HD)

Friends of the Earth Europe

Friends of the Earth Hungary

Humusz Waste Prevention Alliance (HSz)

Institute for Sustainable Development (InE)

Polish Biorecycling Association (SnrRB)

The Society for Earth (TNZ)

Zero Waste Europe

Zero Waste Romania

 

[1] Data gathered by the undersigned NGOs, based on information included in national, regional, and local waste management plans.

[2] The role of waste-to-energy in the circular economy, COM(2017) 34 final.

[3] Closing the loop – An EU action plan for the Circular Economy, COM(2015) 614 final.

[4] http://www.eib.org/projects/pipelines/index?d=2014&f=&st=&r=1&c=&se=2060


10th anniversary of EU recycling rules marked by green groups

10 February 2017, Brussels

On 13 February 2007, Members of the European Parliament voted in pioneering waste rules that have led to higher recycling rates across Europe. [1] They must now keep momentum and vote for more ambitious recycling targets as well as binding measures to reduce waste generation.

Thanks to the 2007 legislation, recycling rates have steadily grown across the EU:

  • In 2015, 46% of municipal waste generated in the EU was recycled, as opposed to 36% in 2007. [2]
  • The highest increases between 2007 and 2015 came from Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Italy (20–32%). [3]
  • Landfilling rates in the European Union fell from 43% in 2007 to 26% in 2015. [4]

The improvements show that binding recycling targets have a big impact on waste management. However, waste prevention by repair and reuse is also necessary to close the loop of our economy.

Ferran Rosa, Waste Policy Officer at Zero Waste Europe (ZWE), said:

“The Waste Framework Directive was the first step to a more resource-efficient Europe. After 10 years, it is the moment for Member States and the European Parliament to step up the ambition, both in the law and in the implementation

In mid-March, the European Parliament will have a chance to renew its ambition, and vote for long-needed binding targets on waste prevention and higher recycling targets.

NGOs have called for mandatory measures to improve separate collection for all waste streams, including bio-waste, a 70% recycling target for 2030 as well as stronger rules on producer responsibility aimed at driving eco-design.

ENDS

 Action of February 13 2007. Source: Friends of the Earth Europe Action of February 13 2007. Source: Friends of the Earth Europe
Action of February 13 2007. Source: Friends of the Earth Europe

 

Note to Editors

[1] On 13 February 2007, the European Parliament approved the Waste Framework Directive,
introducing a 50% legally-binding target for the recycling of waste and compulsory separate collection for paper, metal, glass and plastic.

·        The European Parliament’s Environment Committee approved the legislative amendments on 24 January 2017.

·        The European Parliament will vote in Plenary between 13th and 16th March 2017 (date to be confirmed).

·        Member States will decide whether to approve the amendments later in 2017.

[2], [3], [4] Eurostat 2017. Latest data on waste management.

Contacts

Piotr Barczak, Waste Policy Officer, European Environmental Bureau: piotr.barczak@eeb.org

Meadhbh Bolger, Resource Justice Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe: meadhbh.bolger@foeeurope.org

Ferran Rosa, Waste Policy Officer, Zero Waste Europe: ferran@zerowasteeurope.eu


PRESS RELEASE: European Commission Plastics Roadmap not leading anywhere

For immediate release: Brussels, January 26 2017

The European Commission’s newly released Roadmap for the EU Strategy on Plastics in a Circular Economy [1] fails to get to the root of the problem of plastics, according to the Break Free From Plastic Movement.

The Commission outlines the problems Europe is facing with plastics and gives an overview of the focus areas which the full Plastics Strategy will address later this year: (1) decoupling plastics production from virgin fossil feedstock and reducing its life-cycle greenhouse gas impacts, (2) improving the economics, quality and uptake of plastic recycling and reuse, and (3) reducing plastic leakage into the environment.

However, the NGO coalition argues that to make a significant contribution towards the circular economy, the Roadmap needs to focus on reducing and optimising the use of plastics. With a massive decrease in the use of single-use plastics and a sharp increase in reuse and recycling, as proposed by the Break Free From Plastic Movement, the attention on the source of the alternative materials would be secondary.

While the Commission highlights the many problems of plastic pollution for the marine environment, the coalition regrets that it does not propose adequate measures to tackle the issue. What’s more, for packaging and its role in littering, the Commission points at the lack of consumer awareness, rather than addressing the producer’s responsibility and the full range of confusion introduced by biodegradable plastics [2]. In addition, the Commission does not expand on the need to move away from the use of hazardous chemicals in plastics which can harm public health.

Instead of acting during the product design stage and instigating prevention of plastic waste, the Commission has chosen to emphasise better recycling technologies and substitution with ‘renewable’ feedstock. These responses will not lead to a meaningful adoption of Circular Economy principles, nor will it necessarily reduce health-harming plastic pollution.” said Delphine Lévi Alvarès, European coordinator of the Break Free From Plastic movement.

It is crucial that we reframe the debate around real solutions, take action to dramatically reduce throwaway plastics and acknowledge producer responsibility for a product’s end of life in the design process, rather than focusing on (unsustainable) replacement and recycling”, she added.

All over the world, NGOs have come together to work together to stop plastic pollution. The Break Free From Plastic movement believes that the EU Strategy on Plastics – which is expected to be released by the end of 2017 – needs to face up to the scale of the plastics problem and set an ambitious cross-cutting action framework for Europe to fulfil global expectations and become the frontrunner of the battle against plastic pollution.

Notes
[1] European Commission – Roadmap for the Strategy on Plastics in a Circular Economy
http://ec.europa.eu/smart-regulation/roadmaps/docs/plan_2016_39_plastic_strategy_en.pdf
[2] ECOS, European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Zero Waste Europe – “Bioplastics in a Circular Economy”
https://www.zerowasteeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Joint-position-paper_Bioplastics-in-a-Circular-Economy-the-need-to-focus-on-waste-reduction-and-prevention-to-avoid-false-solutions_Jan-2017.pdf

LIST OF SIGNATORIES

CHEM Trust (UK)
Ecologists without Borders (Slovenia)
Environmental Investigation Agency
European Environmental Bureau
Fauna & Flora International
Federation for a Better Environment (Flanders)
Friends of the Earth Europe
Greenpeace
Health Care Without Harm Europe
Let’s Do It World
Marine Conservation Society (UK)
Plastic Change (Denmark)
Plastic Soup Foundation (The Netherlands)
Seas At Risk
Surfers Against Sewage (UK)
Surfrider Foundation Europe
Trash Hero World
Zero Waste Europe
Zero Waste France (France)


Commission calls for defunding of waste-to-energy

For immediate release: Brussels, January 26, 2017

The European Commission published today the Communication on the role of waste-to-energy in a circular economy. The text, although non-binding, provides clarity for the implementation of the waste hierarchy and gives guidance for Member States to avoid problems such as incineration overcapacity.

For the countries with low incineration capacities and highly dependent on landfilling, the Commission advises to focus on improving separate collection and increasing the recycling capacity. Priority should be given to collection and recycling of bio-waste and to take into account a long-term perspective when assessing the need of so-called waste-to-energy facilities, as mixed waste is expected to be significantly reduced in the coming years as recycling rises.

Those countries with high incineration capacity (typically Northern European countries) are, however, recommended to raise incineration taxes, to phase out primes and subsidies to waste-to-energy incineration and to introduce a moratorium on new facilities, as well as decommissioning old ones.

Member States are recommended to phase out public subsidy for the recovery of energy from waste, and so is the support from the Commission for this infrastructure through EU funds.

Zero Waste Europe urges Member States to implement these recommendations so they move up in the waste hierarchy.

Despite these positive recommendations, Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) regrets that the European Commission did not include the call to phase out subsidies for waste-to-energy in the recent Renewable Energy Directive proposal. ZWE would remind the commission that energy savings via prevention and recycling are currently undermined by subsidies going to lower levels of the waste hierarchy such as waste incineration. ZWE calls on MEPs and the national governments to fix this during the legislative process.

Ferran Rosa, ZWE’s Policy Officer said “We cannot keep wasting our money and resources in subsidising waste-to-energy. Divestment from waste-to-energy is needed if we want to create the right incentives for a circular economy”.

 
ENDS

Contacts:
Ferran Rosa, Waste Policy Officer
ferran@zerowasteeurope.eu

+32 470 838 105


MEPs bring back Potocnik 2014’s spirit in a push towards zero waste

For immediate release, 24 January 2017

ENVI MEPs want to be bold on Circular Economy. In a clear signal to the Commission and the Council, the Environment Committee of the European Parliament significantly increased the ambition of the Commission’s proposal on waste by including most of former Commissioner Potocnik’s proposals of first Circular Economy Package of 2014.

For Zero Waste Europe, the text adopted at the Environment Committee includes most of the elements of success for zero waste cities across Europe. The text raises, the level of ambition by setting a 70% recycling target (5% of which should be prepared for reuse) and makes separate collection truly compulsory, further extending it to bio-waste, textiles and waste-oils. In addition, Member States are called to make extensive use of economic instruments, such as pay-as-you-throw schemes and taxes or levies on landfilling and incineration.

Ferran Rosa, ZWE’s Policy Officer said: “Achieving high recycling and low waste generation is not rocket science, but a matter of setting objectives, ensuring proper separate collection, getting citizens involved and making use of economic incentives and the vote of today allows for all of this to happen”.

The text adopted at the ENVI Committee today -if finally approved- also gives work to the Commission who will have to propose a EU-wide waste prevention target in kg per capita along with new legislation and targets for construction, commercial and industrial waste.

The text also emphasises the importance of Extended Producer Responsibility schemes to implement eco-design and to reduce waste generation.

Although the role of waste prevention has been also notably improved compared to Commission’s proposal with three aspirational targets (50% food waste reduction, 30% marine litter reduction and a decoupling of waste generation with economic growth), Zero Waste Europe believes that truly binding measures and targets are needed to achieve the desired effect of significant waste reduction..

Zero Waste Europe congratulates the ENVI Committee and the team of rapporteurs and calls on MEPs to support the adoption of the text in the plenary vote in March.

 

ENDS

Contacts:
Ferran Rosa, Waste Policy Officer
ferran@zerowasteeurope.eu

+32 470 838 105


Press Release: Six paths to make Extended Producer Responsibility fit for a circular economy

For immediate release: Brussels, January 11, 2017

Prior to the discussions on the waste directives at the European Parliament, Zero Waste Europe releases a position paper outlining the main challenges of current Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes and the solutions to make EPR a key tool for circular economy.

According to recent research (1), EPR schemes only manage to cover 31% of municipal solid waste and even these products which are covered are not necessarily successfully separately collected or recycled. At the same time, in most countries, EPR fees fail to take into account how products are designed, meaning that circularity is not incentivised.

Zero Waste Europe identifies six paths to improving EPR schemes in Europe so that there is a framework for circular products.
These EPR schemes should:

  1. Be expanded to cover more products
  2. Cover the full cost of products at the end of life
  3. Drive eco-design
  4. Support moving up the waste hierarchy
  5. Are agents for closed-loop sectors
  6. Bring greater transparency to waste management

Zero Waste Europe considers EPR schemes a key tool to bridge ecodesign and waste management and calls on to MEPs and Member States to implement the above guidelines.

The current EPR tools are insufficient to meet the level of ambition set by a Circular Economy. Closing the material loops and keeping the value and the embodied energy in the system will require changing responsibilities, incentives and indicators; hence our 6 recommendations.” Said Ferran Rosa, waste policy officer at ZWE.

ENDS

FIND HERE THE POSITION PAPER

Contacts:
Ferran Rosa, Waste Policy Officer, ferran@zerowasteeurope.eu +32 470 838 105
Delphine Lévi Alvarès, Product Policy Officer, delphine@zerowasteeurope.eu +32 478 712 633

NOTES
(1) Zero Waste Europe, Redesigning Producer Responsibility: A new EPR is needed for a circular economy, September 2015


Press Release: New zero waste Roubaix case study shows ‘where there is a will there is a way’

For immediate release: Brussels, December 5, 2016

Today Zero Waste Europe[1] has released their latest case study[2]. Demonstrating how the town of Roubaix in Northern France has been able to make significant steps towards a circular economy. The case study highlights the community projects and schemes which have tackled waste at the source, even where the town lacks competences on waste management.

This case study shows that it is vital to involve all stakeholders to change consumption patterns as well as waste generation habits for a successful implementation of a circular economy. The project was so successful that 25% of participating households were able to reduce their waste generation by over 80% and 70% reduced their waste by 50%.

In previous case studies[3] Zero Waste Europe has demonstrated that high recycling rates combined with low generation of waste and low waste management costs are entirely feasible. Zero Waste Europe’s latest case study, highlights how a comprehensive approach has paved the way for zero waste in Roubaix. By integrating families, institutions, businesses, schools and associations Roubaix is creating a new circular system which aims to cut down waste at source and create a new culture of waste.

The case of Roubaix also showcases also the limitations faced by some municipalities in Europe. Roubaix, like other municipalities in France, lacks direct control of waste collection and management policies, meaning that all changes need to be approved by a consortium of municipalities that, in this case, has been reluctant to approve progressive policies. As a result of this the town decided to take an alternative approach reaching out to various stakeholders in Roubaix to minimise waste at its source.

Ferran Rosa, Zero Waste Europe’s Policy Officer said: “Where there is a will there is a way. By challenging households to directly cut down their waste, Roubaix has proven that we can all adjust our lifestyles to more sustainable patterns and make economic savings at the same time”.

Roubaix, which is considered to be the poorest town in France, illustrates that political will and citizen involvement can drive significant change in any situation, even when the competences and resources are lacking.

With the aim of successfully shifting towards a zero waste society and a circular economy, Zero Waste Europe illustrates best practices and supports local transition. Zero Waste Europe’s new campaign ‘Make your city zero waste!’[4] calls for public support in reaching more municipalities in 2017, and sharing zero waste best practices.

ENDS

NOTES

  1. 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
  2. Download The Story of Roubaix: Case Study 8- https://www.zerowasteeurope.eu/downloads/case-study-8-the-story-of-roubaix/
  3. Download previous case studies from Zero Waste Europe – https://www.zerowasteeurope.eu/zw-library/case-studies/
  4. ‘Make Your City Zero Waste’ campaign.

PRESS RELEASE: Valencia’s commitment to introduce a container deposit scheme, a step forward for Circular Economy in Europe

For immediate release: Brussels, November 30, 2016

In an extremely well attended conference held in Valencia on November 29th the regional government of Valencia (Eastern Spain) showed its commitment to forge ahead with the project of creating a law where beverage containers will be sold with a deposit across the whole region. With this law the government aims to reduce litter while significantly increasing the recycling rates for bottles, cans and cartons, which currently stagnates at under 30%.

The region of Valencia, accounting for 5 million inhabitants, is the first in Spain to move in this direction, following the successful examples of Germany and Norway and, more recently, Estonia and Lithuania. The government expects, after the approval in Parliament, to start selling beverage containers with a deposit as of January 2018. Other Spanish regions such as Baleares, Catalonia and Navarra have expressed an interest to follow suit.

Zero Waste Europe congratulates the Valencian government for this commitment to build a circular economy and for the reduction of litter both on land and in the ocean.

Joan Marc Simon, Executive Director of Zero Waste Europe said “Deposit systems have proven to be the most effective tool to implement Extended Producer Responsibility on beverages and we are happy to see Valencia joining progressive regions in Europe in increasing recycling and reducing litter.”


Press Release: International NGOs State Support for Impacted Communities from Waste Incineration in Cement Plants

For immediate release: Brussels, November 16, 2016

In a statement coordinated by Zero Waste Europe, 55 NGOs from all over the world have expressed their support for impacted community groups from waste incineration in cement kilns, claiming that the use of waste as fuel in cement plants has severe consequences for the environment, economy and public health and that it should be ended immediately.

The statement highlights that cement production is one of the most energy intensive industrial processes and is a major contributor to climate change, but efforts to curb these emissions have centred around the use of so called ‘alternative fuel’ which is invariably different types of waste (municipal solid waste, hazardous waste, industrial waste, etc), with very significant negative impacts on air pollution, resource-depletion and climate change.

Mariel Vilella, Zero Waste Europe Managing Director, who coordinated the statement put emphasis on the fact that: “there is a far greater potential to have a positive impact on climate change by focussing on the higher tiers of the waste hierarchy, giving priority waste prevention, reuse and recycling and following the principles of a zero waste strategy.”

The statement is one of the outcomes of the 7th Annual Gathering of the Spanish Alliance Against Waste Incineration in Cement Kilns, which took place in Alcala de Guadaira (Sevilla) on 11-13 November.

The successful event, saw the participation of representatives from 50 municipalities and 14 groups from all over Spain, México and European level, was organized by the Plataforma contra la incineración de residuos en Los Alcores (Alliance against Waste Incineration in Los Alcores), the local coordination group opposing the burning of waste in the cement plant of Portland Valderribas. The event included multiple experts on environmental health, waste management and zero waste strategies (see the full programme here).

On Sunday 13th, 300 people marched under the slogan “No to incineration, yes to recycling” through the streets of the local neighbourhood to the cement plant.

“The meeting was a great opportunity to share experiences, analyse the implementation of incineration in cement plants, its current legal framework, study policies to combat this process and develop coordination amongst groups in this field of action. Moreover, different waste management alternatives have been addressed”, said representatives from Al Wadi-Ira/Ecologistas en Acción.

In conclusion, there is a growing social movement against waste incineration in cement kilns which is demanding zero waste alternatives for the protection of the environment, public health and local economies.

cement-sign-on-logos

NOTES

  1. Full Statement: Civil Society Statement on the Practice of Waste Incineration in Cement Kilns – with full list of signatories
  2. Versión en castellano: Declaración de la Sociedad Civil Frente la Incineración de Residuos en Cementeras.
  3. Photos from the gathering
  4. 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
  5. Local news coverage of the gathering: Europa Press: Debates, conferencias y una manifestación en Alcalá por el VII Encuentro contra la incineración en cementeras
    Europa Press: “Éxito” en el VII encuentro celebrado en Alcalá contra la incineración en cementeras
    Local TV video: https://www.facebook.com/noincineracionbasuralosalcores/?fref=ts

Press Release: MEPs support the end to harmful subsidies to waste-to-energy incineration

For immediate release: Brussels, October 19, 2016

Today, on the International Day of Action on Bioenergy, several MEPs have expressed their support to phase out harmful subsidies that drive waste-to-energy incineration.

Across the EU, waste-to-energy incinerator plants receive financial support in various forms (i.e. feed-in tariff, tax exemption, premium taxes, etc) to produce so-called “renewable energy” from burning the organic portion of residual mixed waste – food waste from restaurants, households, farmers markets, gardens, textiles, clothing, paper and other materials of organic origin.

According to the Bioenergy Policy Paper released today by Zero Waste Europe, these subsidies are one of the major obstacles to achieving a Circular Economy, as most of these materials could be recycled or composted. This incineration process has severe consequences for climate change and air quality due to the huge amounts of greenhouse gases and toxic emissions released.

Ultimately, organic waste should be treated according to the Organic Waste Hierarchy, ensuring proper source-separation and giving priority to composting and biogas generation, after human and animal feed.

Piernicola PEDICINI MEP, EFDD:

I have been fighting against environmentally harmful subsidies in this parliament since a long time. These are one of the main obstacles to the uptake of the circular economy. Waste to-energy incineration is not a sustainable waste management treatment and the emissions from incineration damage the environment and human health. It is now the time for the EU to stand strongly against this harmful practice and redirect investments towards prevention and composting of organic waste.

Bas EICKHOUT MEP, GREENS/EFA:

“In a circular economy there is no waste. Discarded products and materials are reused or re-manufactured. As a final option they are recycled or used biologically. ‘Waste’ consists of finite resources and therefore shouldn’t be incinerated. Counting incineration as renewable energy is an absolute no-go.”

Josu JUARISTI ABAUNZ, GUE/NGL MEP, Basque Country:

“We should definitely aim for greater renewable energy shares, but we need to respect the waste hierarchy over incineration. Incineration goes against the concept of Circular Economy and the waste hierarchy, which favours the reduction of the amount of wasted resources, the increase of their lifecycle and encourages recycling, and so does the EU renewable energy policies which are encouraging the burning of biomass resources, including waste and by-products, as renewable energy. Moreover EU Funds shall not be used to finance waste-energy infrastructure, as incineration practices are not only environmentally harmful (as they are greenhouse emissions contributor); but also, dioxins, produced by waste incineration have shown to be lingering in the bodies of people and identified as the cause of many cancers”.

Dario TAMBURRANO MEP, EFDD:

“The energy produced by incinerating waste can be called “renewable” only if G. Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” philosophy is applied, namely “war is peace” and “freedom is slavery”.

Organic material is recyclable into useful compost, but when burned it becomes instead useless and harmful ash. By providing public support to waste-to-energy, they are simply reducing into ashes the citizens’ money.”

Jean LAMBERT, GREENS/EFA MEP:

“We need to redirect spending to reducing waste and climate emissions and weed out perverse subsidies which encourage us to carry on producing waste for energy purposes – a double blow for the planet.”

Molly SCOTT CATO, GREENS/EFA MEP, 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.”

ENDS

NOTES

  1. 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
  2. Harmful subsidies to waste-to-energy incineration: a pending issue for the Renewable Energy Directive and Bioenergy Sustainability Policy – https://www.zerowasteeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/REcasestudy_final8.pdf

Press Release: Circular Economy can be a game-changer to reach ESR targets

For immediate release: Brussels, September 27 2016

Contact: Mariel Vilella , Zero Waste Europe Climate Policy Campaigner & Associate Director-  mariel@zerowasteeurope.eu

Zero Waste Europe[1] has responded to the consultation on the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) by highlighting the contribution that the waste sector can bring to a low-carbon economy, and calling the European Commission to have higher ambition.

In the response submitted today[2], Zero Waste Europe pointed out that the implementation of the Circular Economy Package could deliver far more GHG emission reductions than the total amount targeted by the implementation of the ESR, if GHG emissions savings from recycling and reduction of waste were accounted for, which shows that there is very significant room for improvement.

Recent research calculated[3] the climate benefit 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/tonnes CO2-eq/year, which would be the equivalent to the total annual emissions of the Netherlands.

In comparison, the overall ESR proposal expects to reduce is 1,000 million/tonnes for the period 2021-2030, an average of 111 million/tonnes per year[4]. This lower figure partly responds to the fact that the ESR is not taking into consideration the recycling and waste reduction related targets from the Circular Economy Package.

In this sense, with the proper accounting methodologies in place, the ESR ambition could be much higher and more coherent with the sectoral policies.

“The Effort Sharing Regulation should set mitigation targets that are consistent with the targets of the Circular Economy Package, making sure that the two sets of policies are coherent. These policies are called to drive the transition across sectors to a low-carbon economy, ensuring actual emission reductions and creative solutions for a long-lasting, inclusive change,“ said Mariel Vilella, Zero Waste Europe Climate Policy Campaigner & Associate Director.

Furthermore, the response highlights that zero waste solutions, alongside climate action in other sectors, will contribute to achieving the global target of a maximum of 1.5 degrees global warming, embracing the principles of conservation of materials, the reduction of toxics, equitable distribution, and access to resources.

The response submitted by Zero Waste Europe is available to download on our website.

Contact: Mariel Vilella , Zero Waste Europe Climate Policy Campaigner & Associate Director-  mariel@zerowasteeurope.eu

NOTES

  1. 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
  2. Zero Waste Europe’s official response to the ESR consultation: https://www.zerowasteeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/ESRSubmission.pdf_V4.pdf
  3. The Potential Contribution of Waste Management to a Low Carbon Economy, Eunomia/ZWE, 2015. https://www.zerowasteeurope.eu/downloads/the-potential-contribution-of-waste-management-to-a-low-carbon-economy/
  4. The EU 2016 Reference Scenario, see here: https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/documents/20160712_Summary_Ref_scenario_MAIN_RESULTS%20(2)-web.pdf

Press Release: Germany should work for and not against a Circular Economy in Europe

For immediate release: Brussels, September 16 2016

Zero Waste Europe[1] strongly objects to the Germany’s proposal to postpone recycling targets which are included in the waste package and are one of the flagships of the Circular Economy strategy.

After reporting 65.12% recycling rate on latest Eurostat statistics for 2014, Germany now asks for a target-free Circular Economy Package, arguing that a 65% recycling rate target by 2030 may not be feasible. According to Germany, a new methodology based on national standard loss rates should be tested for 3 years, after which the Commission could come up with “feasible” targets, opening the door for lower targets or no targets at all. This proposal would contradict current legislation which mandates the Commission to propose higher targets after 2014.

The European Commission has acknowledged[2] that recycling targets and separate collection schemes have been the major driver of high recycling rates in many countries, including Germany. Ferran Rosa, Zero Waste Europe’s waste policy officer wondered: “Germany has their own national targets. If it’s positive and achievable for Germany, why wouldn’t they be possible for the rest of Europe? Either their statistics aren’t accurate or they have an interest in low-recycling rates”.

In this regard, Mr Rosa added that “Europe’s recycling leader is also the leading country in Europe for waste imports for incineration. The removal of recycling targets combined with close-to-zero landfill disposal will only serve to feed German incineration overcapacity and push for adding even more incinerators to the already saturated incineration market”.

Zero Waste Europe’s examples of best practices[3] from across the continent have repeatedly proved the feasibility of achieving high recycling rates within a short period of time, supporting local jobs and increased environmental protection.

Germany’s position also rejects the Commission’s proposal of EU-wide minimum requirements for EPR schemes that are meant to drive recyclability and repairability of the products covered by existing or new Extended Producer Responsibility schemes.

“We cannot afford to have the European engine putting the breaks on the Circular Economy. A target-free Circular Economy package with almost no binding measures will not bring the systemic change needed” concluded Rosa.

NOTES

  1.  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.euZero Waste Europe
  2. Zero Waste Europe Case Studies: https://www.zerowasteeurope.eu/zw-library/case-studies/
  3. European Commission Impact Assessment accompanying Directive Proposal: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/resource.html?uri=cellar:0c4bbc1d-02ba-11e4-831f-01aa75ed71a1.0001.02/DOC_4&format=PDF 

ENDS


Press release: A vision of a future free from plastic pollution: the EU must rise to the challenge

logo_epap

 

For Immediate Release: Brussels, 14th of September 2016

 

A groundbreaking new global vision for a future free from plastic pollution has been released today by a network of 90 NGOs. The vision lays out 10 principles with the ultimate goal being ‘a future free from plastic pollution’. It represents the first step in a global movement to change society’s perception and use of plastics.

Scientists predict that without urgent action there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, threatening marine biodiversity and posing a risk to human health. Yet, despite the danger that plastic pollution poses to our planet and to Human well-being, governments and industry have so far failed to face up to the systemic change required to solve the issue.

At the European level, the development of the Circular Economy Package and the EU Strategy on Plastics present a major opportunity to fundamentally tackle the use of plastic and prevent the creation of plastic waste. This cannot be done without policy makers addressing the full life-cycle of plastics from oil extraction and design, to end-of-life.

This is the first time that groups from all around the world have come together to find a common solution to the problem of plastic pollution. It is the beginning of a movement which will lead to governments, cities and companies taking major action to tackle this ever-growing problem” said Delphine Lévi Alvarès, Zero Waste Europe policy officer and coordinator of the European plastics alignment process.

European governments and multinationals need to face up to their responsibility for driving the irresponsible use of plastics and for the resulting environmental damage around the world, which often most affects the most vulnerable globally. It is clear that without a strong and coordinated effort and impetus by policy makers, businesses will continue to use plastic indiscriminately and the pollution will intensify.

The NGOs below call on the European Commission and Member States to strive for ambitious policy changes to lead the way to a future free from plastic pollution.

 

See the vision statement in video and read more about the project

 

Press contacts

Delphine Lévi Alvarès

Zero Waste Europe

+32 478 71 26 33

delphine@zerowasteeurope.eu

 

List of European signatories

ChemTrust (UK)

European environmental citizen’s organisation for standardisation

Ecologists without borders (Slovenia)

Environmental Investigation Agency

European Environmental Bureau

Fauna & Flora International

Federation for a Better Environment (Flanders)

Friends of the Earth Europe

Health and Environment Alliance

Health Care Without Harm Europe

Humusz (Hungary)

Let’s do it World

Marine conservation society (UK)

Plastic Change (Danemark)

Plastic Soup Foundation (Netherlands)

Surfrider Foundation Europe

Seas At Risk

Surfers against sewage (UK)

Trash Hero World

Zero Waste Europe

Zero Waste France (France)

Enregistrer

Enregistrer


PRESS RELEASE: Concern that flame retardants cause more harm than safety

For immediate release: Brussels, September 08 2016

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There are several different fire safety standards for furniture in Europe. Some standards lead to the use of flame retardant chemicals. Scientific research shows that many flame retardants are hazardous to both human health and the environment, without providing a demonstrated fire safety benefit.

A wide alliance of stakeholders ranging from environmental NGOs to industry, cancer organisations, fire fighters and labour unions are coming forth to raise awareness about the risks and concerns of using hazardous flame retardants in furniture.

Furniture flammability standards that lead to the use of flame retardants bring harmful and potentially harmful chemicals into homes, schools, hospitals and workplaces. Such requirements threaten human health, the global environment, and the recycling of furniture in the circular economy.

“Creating a real circular economy will be impossible for as long as toxic chemicals enter the cycle and are recycled into new products. We have already seen kitchen utensils and plastic cutlery with hazardous flame retardants. Toxics in, toxics out.”  Joan Marc Simon, Executive Director, Zero Waste Europe

There are more effective and less harmful ways to achieve fire safety, without potentially putting the whole population and the environment at risk. The use of smoke detectors is one way of increasing escape time as the fire is detected earlier, without the potential harm from exposure to chemicals.

“Fire fighters have a higher risk than civilians for a variety of cancers, and we know there is a concern flame retardants contribute to increasing that risk. Fire safety can be achieved in other means than using potentially harmful chemicals: smoke detectors and sprinklers are amongst the most effective.” Mikael Svanberg, European Fire Fighter Unions Alliance (EFFUA).

Flame retardant chemicals leak out of products and build up in the environment. They create a toxic legacy that does not disappear over time, but stays in the air, soil and sediments of the oceans – eventually ending up in the food we eat.

“If we can increase fire safety without causing serious harm to humans and nature, we should go for it! In the US, California and Washington states have already scrapped flammability standards which filled household furniture with hazardous chemicals. Europe should follow suit and end this madness immediately.” Tatiana Santos, Senior Policy Officer on Chemicals, European Environmental Bureau (EEB).

The different flammability standards throughout Europe are complicated to comply with and place a costly burden on the producers. Flame retardants increase costs in production, while lowering the quality of products. This is a serious challenge to the furniture sector in Europe, putting jobs and growth at risk.

“As a producer, having to comply with several standards to be able to sell our products on the European market is unbearable. The existing multitude of National Flammability standards are effective barriers to trade in the internal market.” Markus Wiesner, President, European Furniture Industries Confederation (EFIC)

Important steps to eliminate hazardous flame retardants have already been taken through REACH and other regulatory approaches in the EU. It is time for the final step through harmonised safety requirements for furniture that do not lead to the use of flame retardant chemicals.
ENDS
PRESS CONTACT: Delphine Lévi Alvarès, Zero Waste Europe Policy Officer +32 (0) 478 712 633 delphine@zerowasteeurope.eu

LINKS

The Case for Flame Retardant Free Furniture – Policy Paper https://www.zerowasteeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/FRFF_policypaper_080916.pdf

Press Brief for Flame Retardant Free Furniture Launch https://www.zerowasteeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Press_brief_flame_retardants_launch-8-sept.pdf

Following a successful campaign in the USA, the regulation in California has been changed in order to avoid the use of flame retardant chemicals whilst maintaining a high level of fire safety. Other states are following California’s lead. Here are some useful links:

Chicago Tribune series on flame retardants: “Tribune Watchdog Playing With Fire” http://media.apps.chicagotribune.com/flames/index.html

A short video produced by The Chicago Tribune: “The Truth About Flame Retardants” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb4lFKyVjTc

Boston Globe: “Mass. firefighters seek ban on flame retardants” https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/04/24/firefighters-seek-new-law-ban-flame-retardants/Zzv8aVoRN6WTcpKDIvV4cP/story.html

Portrait of Arlene Blum:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/magazine/arlene-blums-crusade-against-household-toxins.html?_r=1

Politico: Are lobbyists playing with fire?
http://www.politico.eu/article/are-lobbyists-playing-with-fire/

NOTES

Stakeholder Alliance:
An alliance representing a wide range of interests in society has joined forces to fight against the use of harmful flame retardants in furniture.

The alliance gathers industry, environmental NGOs, cancer organisations, fire fighters and the labour union. Members of the alliance are:

  • The European Fire Fighter Unions Alliance (EFFUA)
  • European Environmental Citizens Organisation for Standardisation (ECOS)
  • European Environmental Bureau (EEB)
  • Zero Waste Europe (ZWE)
  • The Cancer Prevention and Education Society (Cancer Prevention)
  • European Furniture Industries Confederation (EFIC)
  • European Bedding Industries Association (EBIA)
  • European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW)
  • CHEM Trust – Protecting humans and wildlife from harmful chemicals (CHEM Trust)
  • Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)

Press Release: Zero Waste Europe – New ESR proposal is promising but lacks strength

For Immediate Release: Brussels 25 July, 2016

Zero Waste Europe welcomes the European Commission’s proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in key economic sectors such as waste management by 30% by 2030, but warns that potential loopholes from the EU’s carbon market as well as credits from forestry to offset emissions in those sectors would seriously undermine the EU’s commitment to combating climate change.

Under the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR), EU Member States are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in sectors outside the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) – including waste, transport, buildings and agriculture. These sectors represent almost 60% of the greenhouse gas emissions of the EU.

Zero Waste Europe believes that all sectors, including waste management, have to work towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Janek Vahk, Zero Waste Europe´s Development and Policy Coordinator said. “Under the new ESR, Member States will be obliged to reduce their GHG emissions by 30%, but these higher targets will not necessarily deliver real mitigation action at the scale of transformation needed unless there is strong coordination and alignment with other sectoral policies such as Circular Economy.”

As acknowledged by the European Commission, the Circular Economy Package has the potential to further reduce emissions in the waste sector and beyond, and this is an opportunity that should not be missed.

The Effort Sharing Regulation could be an important tool to incentivise Member States to develop effective climate mitigation actions in the waste management sector. Recent research calculated that the optimal implementation of the Circular Economy Package waste targets (2014 version) would save 190 million/tones CO2-eq/year, which would be the equivalent to the total annual emissions of the Netherlands.”

Ferran Rosa, Zero Waste Europe’s Waste Policy Officer said: “the Circular Economy Package can contribute massively to climate mitigation. Although the biggest environmental and climate benefits are in prevention, the Circular Economy Package fails to propose any EU-wide objective of waste prevention”.

Zero Waste Europe calls on the European Parliament and Member States to strengthen the EU’s largest climate legislation by exploiting the synergies with the Circular Economy Package and other legislation, and including prevention policies specifically tackling those waste streams that could deliver significant climate benefits, such as food waste, textiles or plastics. Failing that, these sectors will likely remain largely unimproved, and a number of loopholes will threaten the implementation of the ESR.


PRESS RELEASE: People’s Design Lab launched to redesign wasteful products

For immediate release: Brussels, 05/07/16

logo-pdl-europe

On July 2nd at the Festival Zero Waste in Paris, Zero Waste Europe announced the launch of the People’s Design Lab, an international project aimed at identifying and redesigning poorly designed and wasteful products and pave the way for a Circular Economy.

People’s design lab online platform is targeting products that break too early, that are not repairable, that are toxic, that are not recyclable or for any other reason are unfit for a Circular Economy. The People’s Design Lab enables citizens to take action in highlighting the problems and identifying the zero waste solutions.

The nomination stage of the People’s Design Lab will run from July 2nd to September 2nd and will identify some of the worst designed and most wasteful products. Next, two rounds of voting will choose the products that will be receive close attention in the redesign stage, in which solutions to wasteful design will be proposed.

An example of excess packaging
An example of excess packaging

During the third stage of the project ‘Redesign Workshops’ will be held across Europe and have opportunities for online participation, allowing a wide range of stakeholders (citizens, designers, entrepreneurs, public authorities, etc.) to have their say in how the products are redesigned for a zero waste future. After that, efforts will be made to turn these ideas into reality. This process will aim to tackle to the problem on both the legislative level and by directly engaging companies guilty of producing wasteful products.

Zero Waste Europe, Policy Officer Delphine Lévi Alvarès said: “Waste is just a symptom, if we want to fix the problem we have to focus on the source, creating a world where everything is designed for repair, reuse and recycling. The People’s Design Lab will facilitate the involvement of citizens in highlighting problematic design and finding creative and innovative solutions.”

Examples of badly designed products which have already been submitted include boiled eggs removed from their shells and repackaged in individually wrapped plastic containers, and iMac chargers which are prone to breaking sooner than expected.

The People’s Design Lab takes inspiration from the Little Museum of Bad Industrial Design in Italy, and ‘The People’s Design Lab UK’ where examples of bad design were identified by groups of citizens and attempts were made to redesign the products with zero waste alternatives.

ENDS

CONTACT: Delphine Lévi Alvarès – delphine@zerowasteeurope.eu

The People’s Design Lab – peoplesdesignlab.org


PRESS RELEASE: EU Member States asked to deliver final decisive effort for Europe to break free from single-use plastic bags

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For immediate release: Brussels, July 1, 2016

Only 4 months away from the transposition deadline of the EU Plastic bags directive, environmental NGOs celebrate today the 7th edition of the International Plastic Bag Free Day. 2016 is a pivotal year which will pave the way towards what NGOs hope, a European plastic bag free future.

EU governments have until the end of November to adopt national legislative measures to drastically reduce the use of single-use plastic carrier bags. While many initiatives have popped up locally, some Member States are still lagging behind in engaging in the fight against plastic bag pollution. At the same time, some EU countries such as Italy and France already have, or are planning bans on plastic bags and are paving the way ahead.

More than 100 billion bags are used annually in Europe and most end up in landfills, incinerators or as litter in aquatic environments. In addition to harming the marine environment, producing these bags requires millions of barrels of oil per year. Moreover, plastic bags can take centuries to degrade and are responsible, together with other litter items, for the deaths of an estimated 100,000 marine mammals every year.

collage

The International Plastic Bag Free Day, celebrated over the World on July 3rd, is a unique occasion for Fundació Prevenció de Residus, together with NGOs Surfrider Foundation Europe and Zero Waste Europe, and the undersigned organisations to spread the word that a plastic bag free world is possible and that sound environmental alternatives to single use plastic bags are available.

NGOs ask governments to show ambition and caution, recalling that paper bags and biodegradable bags remain single use options and should be avoided. They call on the European Commission to speed up the two reports promised in the Plastic Bags directive on very-lightweight and oxo-degradable plastic bags, as they are still far too common in the European market. Oxo-degradable bags, in particular, have proven to be extremely harmful for the marine environment, as they break into small pieces impossible to remove.

European citizens expect national governments to seize this opportunity for action. NGOs too call on governments to set an example, and take ambitious action: We are glad that more and more regions, municipalities and Member States are taking on what Italy has started in 2011 with its ban on single use bags. It is now time for all EU Member States to take their responsibilities and stop the plastic bag flow – whether they are used as carrier bags or for the transport of fruits and vegetables- into the environment and eventually into the Ocean”.

ENDS

More information:

www.plasticbagfreeday.org

www.surfrider.eu/en/ban-the-bag

www.zerowasteeurope.eu


New case study: Parma proves 70% recycling and 100kg residual waste can be achieved in only 4 years

For immediate release: Brussels, June 20 2016

 

This case study confirms that ZWE’s proposals for the Circular Economy package can be achieved in very little time

Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) has published today a new case study on the city of Parma, Italy, which highlights how with political will and citizen involvement it is possible to radically reduce residual waste, create jobs and save the taxpayers money.

Screenshot from 20160401_105745.mp4 - 1

Parma, with 190,284 inhabitants, had separate collection stagnated around 45% for some years. However a citizens-led initiative to move away from waste disposal managed in 2012 to transform waste policies and brought a zero waste plan for Parma.

The new plan copied and improved what is already working well in other towns of the zero waste network; intensive kerbside collection and pay-as-you-throw systems together with lots of education and keeping the system flexible to accomodate further improvements.

graph

The indicator that the town used to measure success was the reduction of residual waste (what is sent for landfilling and/or WtE incineration) per capita which was reduced by a staggering 59%, from 283kg to 117kg, in only 4 years. By 2015 the separate collection was raised to 72% and the quality of the materials separated for recycling had also increased.

The new system of collection is more labour intensive which has meant that the number of waste collectors has increased from 77 to 121 with a number of other indirect jobs being created whilst the city has saved €453,736 in comparison with the former system.

graph2

But the transition is far from over. By end of 2016 Parma will be generating less than 100kg of residual waste per person and have achieved 80% separate collection and plans are to continue on the path to zero waste.

Joan Marc Simon, Director of ZWE said “Some spend their time finding excuses not to deliver in 2030, others like the city of Parma prove that a target of 70% recycling and 100kg residual waste per capita is achievable in less than 5 years”.

This case study and the case for a target on residual waste per capita will be presented in Brussels next Wednesday 22nd June by the Councilor for Environment of the city of Parma, Gabriele Folli, in the conference Towards Zero Waste Cities: How local authorities can apply waste prevention policies taking place at the Committee of the Regions.To attend please register HERE.
Other Zero Waste Europe case studies can be found on our website.

ENDS

CONTACT

Ferran Rosa
NOTES:

Download Case Study 7 – The Story of Parma

Zero Waste Europe was created to empower communities to rethink their relationship with resources. In a growing number of regions, local groups of individuals, businesses and city officials are taking significant steps towards eliminating waste in our society. Read more about us here.

Visit the European network of zero waste towns : www.zerowastecities.eu

This is the most recent of 7 case studies published by Zero Waste Europe. If you want to learn about these amazing practices download the case studies of Capannori (Italy), Argentona (Spain), Vhrnika (Slovenia), Contarina (Italy), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Gipuzkoa (Spanish Basque Country) and review the stories of their successes to date, providing an analysis of the key elements that allowed such impressive transition.


Press Release: Bonafè shows more ambition than the Commission, yet is still far from zero waste

S&D MEP Simona Bonafè  presented today the draft reports on the waste directives under review. Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) sees them as a positive step forward from European Commission’s text, but is disappointed by the absence of some specific targets and the lack of concrete binding measures necessary on the path to Zero Waste.

ZWE notes positively the emphasis given to waste prevention with the inclusion of new obligations for Member States on marine litter, food waste prevention and the reduction of single-use products. However, ZWE regrets that the targets proposed by the rapporteur on food waste and marine litter are only aspirational and not country specific targets, instead being EU-wide without clear local goals.

Despite raising the recycling target for 2030 to 70%, the report does not propose to cap the tonnage of waste that is sent to disposal, be it incineration or landfill. According to Joan Marc Simon, ZWE’s Executive Director, “EU policy makers still focus too much on the percentage of waste landfilled and too little on the kilos of waste disposed”. In this context, countries producing high amounts of waste and landfilling little have no incentive to improve. Mr Simon added that “a cap on residual waste sent to landfills and incinerators is the only way of pushing for high recycling and waste prevention at the same time”.

Matt Martin CC-BY-NC 2.0
Matt Martin CC-BY-NC 2.0

Despite the push for EPR (extended producer responsibility) as a tool for eco-design, ZWE believes these changes are still too weak to address problematic streams such as textiles, hygiene products, hazardous waste from households, and furniture. However ZWE welcomes  the efforts to phase out toxicity as a precondition for circular economy.

ZWE also welcomes the clarity given by the new definitions and elimination of loopholes, chiefly by making waste separate collection truly compulsory and by eliminating a ‘double-calculation’ method. Nevertheless ZWE warns about the confusing definition of residual waste included in the package.

The changes proposed for the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive  are a positive step towards increased resource efficiency. The inclusion of packaging re-use targets and the call for a EU-wide deposit-scheme for re-usable packaging are also to be welcomed. However ZWE believes that the proposed re-use targets are too low to stop the downward trend in the use refillable packaging.

Despite a modest increase of recycling targets for all materials by 2025, ZWE is disappointed by the lack of a recycling target for plastic packaging for 2030, and for multimaterial multi-layered packaging despite them being two of the fastest growing types of packaging. More concretely the EU should require a prevention target for plastic packaging.

Overall Bonafè’s report has managed to bring back the ambition that the European Commission missed in the December’s proposal but despite being a step in the right direction it is still insufficient to create a Circular Economy in Europe.

 

ENDS

PRESS CONTACT:

Ferran ROSA, Policy Officer +32 470 838 105 / +34 667 88 91 83

 

NOTES:

Text of the reports

Waste Directive

Landfill Directive

Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive


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

Press Release: Eurostat data for 2014 confirms need for European residual waste target

For immediate release: Brussels, 23/03/16

According to Eurostat statistics on waste released on 22/03/16, each European generated 475 kg of waste in 2014, only 44% of this is being recycled or composted. The remaining 56% ended up landfilled (28%) or incinerated (27%).

Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) notes that two continuing trends in these statistics:

  • Little improvement in terms of waste generation

  • Waste is being diverted from landfills into incinerators (up 1.1%) and to a lesser extent to recycling (up 1%)

In general terms, the countries which are performing well in waste treatment seem to be unable to reduce their waste generation, while the most efficient ones in terms of waste generation tend to be unable to reintroduce materials into the economy through recycling and composting.

In view of these facts and in order to advance towards a circular economy ZWE calls for the adoption of targets for residual wastei of 100kg per capita as a more effective tool to increase recycling in countries with low waste generation and reduce waste generation in those countries with advanced recycling programs.

Zero Waste Europe’s Executive Director, Joan Marc Simon said “A residual waste target of 100kg per capita for 2030 is a good indicator of resource efficiency and resource use, as it works on the top levels of the waste hierarchy, effectively combining prevention, reuse and recycling policies”.

When looking at 2014 statistics from a residual waste per capita perspective one can see that, besides Malta and Cyprus (both islands) and Denmark, there is already considerable convergence between EU member states with the EU average being at 259kg per capita, hence a target of 100kg for 2030 is a feasible target.

The situation is, however, very diverse across the EU, both in terms of waste generation and waste treatment. Some Member States like Romania, Poland or Latvia are well under the average EU waste generation with less than 300 kg per inhabitant, while some others like Denmark, Cyprus and Germany generate substantially more than EU average, being over 600 kg per inhabitant and even over 750 kg, as it is for Denmark.

ZWE also notes that Slovenia, a relatively new member state, is today the best EU country implementing waste hierarchy management practices with stable waste generation well below EU average and a high recycling rate. This makes of Slovenia the best performing EU country with the lowest amount of residual waste, just 102 kg per capita in 2014.

Mr Simon added that The Circular Economy in Europe means reducing waste generation and increasing recycling rates and Slovenia is a good example of how to both things can take place simultaneously”.

ENDS

NOTES

i Proposed definition of residual waste

Residual waste’ means waste which is not fit for prevention, re-use or recycling and needs to be sent for energy recovery or disposal’


Press Release: Launch of map of European Zero Waste municipalities

At the conference “Zero Waste: A Key Solution Pathway for a low carbon future” that took place in Paris December 3rd Zero Waste Europe officially launched the ‘Zero Waste Cities’ map of European municipalities committed to moving towards zero waste.

This mapping exercise aims to increase the visibility and the accountability of those towns that have dared to step away from the outdated ‘recycle, burn and bury’ paradigm and into the new zero waste paradigm of ‘rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle’.

The first European municipality to adopt the zero waste goal was Capannori back in 2008, since then more than 300 municipalities from 7 countries have joined the network and many more are expected to join in the coming years.

Representatives from ZW Cities, ZWE, ZWF, ACR+ and Eunomia.

During the conference Zero Waste Europe recognised the towns of San Francisco (USA), Alapuza (India), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Treviso (Italy) for their outstanding results in implementing the zero waste strategy and it welcomed the interest of the cities of Paris and the unions SIRDOMDI and SMTC to follow suit.

“The network of European zero waste municipalities embodies the ambition that we miss in the Circular Economy proposal from the European Commission; some towns are already above 80% recycling and many others know they want to get there in less than 10 years. We look forward to welcoming new cities to the network” said Joan Marc Simon, Director of Zero Waste Europe.

“Commissioner Timmermans said that ambition means realism to justify lower recycling targets. These examples show that his decision has more to do with lack of political ambition than realistic technical feasibility” added Mr Simon.

ENDS

Press Contact

Joan Marc Simon, Executive Director  – Zero Waste Europe +32 486 83 25 76

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


Press release: Circular economy? New package is too weak to make it happen

After the withdrawal of the former circular economy package and the promise of a more ambitious version by end of 2015, the European Commission has now, just published a weaker Circular Economy Package.

The package wants to transform the current European linear economy into a circular one, by making products last longer and keeping the value of materials within the economy for as much as possible and, virtually eliminating waste.

Although the benefits expected of such a transition are huge, the proposed legislation and action plan will not be sufficient to create such a systemic change. Joan Marc Simon, Executive Director of Zero Waste Europe, commented “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. 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”.

The legislative waste proposal is relatively similar to that of 2014, albeit substantially weaker. Mr Simon said that “some minor improvements have been included, such as the introduction of a system to monitor residual waste, and the promotion of reuse of WEEE, textiles and furniture. Other positive elements are the expected improvement of methodologies and higher clarity in definitions and minimum requirements for EPR schemes that could pave the way to better eco-design along the lines drawn in the recent report about redesigning producer responsibility [1] published by ZWE.

On the negative part, Zero Waste Europe is critical of the legislative proposal as it fails to address prevention and reuse, it even goes so far as to eliminate food waste and marine litter reduction targets, 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 [2].

“Our case studies of Contarina, Ljubljana and Gipuzkoa [3] 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. 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.” concluded Simon.

ENDS
Press Contact

Joan Marc Simon, Executive Director  – Zero Waste Europe +32 486 83 25 76
NOTES
[1] Redesigning Producer Responsibility: a new EPR is needed for circular economy.
[2] Policy Paper on Landfill Ban.
[3] Zero Waste Case Studies.
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


Press Release: Landfill ban? A false path to a circular economy

9 November 2015

In a policy paper released today Zero Waste Europe warns against the use of landfill bans and advocates for the use of more effective instruments to reduce residual waste and advance towards a circular economy.

The paper argues that most of the districts with landfill bans have seen an overcapacity of waste to energy plants, discouraging them to take further efforts on waste prevention, reuse or recycling.

According to Joan-Marc Simon, Zero Waste Europe’s Executive Director, “Unless all treatment options which “break the loop” are considered, the consequence of banning or phasing out one of them will result in a transfer of waste to another. This will create unnecessary tensions which in no way help to move towards a circular economy.”

The policy paper analyses how in all 7 European countries where a landfill ban has been implemented it resulted into more waste being diverted towards incineration than towards recycling. This is the case in the Netherlands and Germany, where waste to energy incineration tripled and almost doubled the increase of recycling, respectively, and the case of Austria and Norway, where recycling has even decreased. In Denmark, the ban on landfill has seen a boost in incineration accompanied by a rise of waste generation of 37.5%.

graph2

Zero Waste Europe also believes that landfill bans are a way to “bury” waste under other statistics without necessarily improving performance. In this regard, some European countries like Germany or Sweden claim to have a zero waste to landfill policy, but they actually landfill the rejects of mechanic-biological treatment plants and ashes from waste to energy plants. The paper also highlights that a zero waste to landfill policy is “blind” to waste reuse and reduction, for countries could continue to run a linear economy, increasing waste generation as long as waste is burned or recycled.

Comparing two different cases, that of Copenhagen, where a zero waste to landfill policy is in place, and that of Treviso province, with a real zero waste strategy. The residual waste in Copenhagen is almost 6 times that of Treviso, where they don’t have landfill ban but a true zero waste policy to all sorts of disposal.

In order to advance towards a Circular Economy Zero Waste Europe recommends to use equally high taxes on landfill and waste to energy incineration combined with a lower tax on landfilling of stabilised waste for they prove to be more effective in diverting waste towards prevention , preparation for re-use and recycling than a landfill ban.

To download the Policy Paper, click here.

ENDS.


Press Release: Study finds Extended Producer Responsibility needs redesign for Circular Economy

For immediate release: 14 October 2015

A new study commissioned by Zero Waste Europe[1] and released today at a conference in Brussels [2] has found that the majority of product waste is not covered by current Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes and calls for the redesigning of producer responsibility in order to move towards a circular economy.

The study published today [3] analyses the waste composition of 15 European cities showing that 70% of municipal solid waste is product waste, and therefore not food or garden waste, and as such could be included under an EPR scheme. However, on average, only 45% of this product waste (by weight) is currently covered by producer responsibility schemes. This means that, on average, EPR schemes only cover 32.5% of total municipal waste, with coverage varying from 14.9% in Copenhagen to 47.6% in Paris. Furthermore, only 18% of product waste is collected separately through an EPR scheme.

Joan-Marc Simon, director of ZWE said “The current interpretation of EPR was useful to increase recycling rates in Europe over last 20 years but it will need updating for it to help move us towards a circular economy. We call on the European Commission to use the upcoming waste package to include incentives to redesign systems and products in order to drive prevention and reuse, foster a serviced-based economy, put recycling as last option and progressively phase out disposal.”

The report makes a series of recommendations to the European Commission. Among these it calls for a broader definition and a more comprehensive approach to producer responsibility which includes the use of economic instruments. The introduction of legally binding eco-design requirements as well as better EPR schemes with full-cost coverage, individualisation, targets for separate collection and considering expansion of the current EPR scope to include more products and incentivise reuse.

The study also finds that existing EPR schemes have been ineffective in driving eco-design, both because of its limited coverage of product waste and the lack of modulation of EPR fees based on eco-design. Zero Waste Europe urges the European Commission to develop minimum European-wide individualisation criteria based on eco-design.

Contact: Joan-Marc Simon, info@zerowasteeurope.eu, +32 2503-49 11

ENDS

***

NOTES:

1. 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

2. Launch event for the report – 14.30 – 17.00 – Brussels, Belgium

3. Download the Full Report or Download Executive Summary


Press Release: Study Finds Extended Producer Responsibility Needs Redesign for Circular Economy

Study Finds Extended Producer Responsibility Needs Redesign for Circular Economy

For Immediate Release: 15, July, 2015

Contact: Joan-Marc Simon info@zerowasteeurope.eu, +32 2503-49 11

***

A new study commissioned by Zero Waste Europe[1] finds majority of product waste not covered by current Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes and calls for redesigning it in order to move towards a circular economy.

Key findings from the new study covering 15 European cities have been published today [2], in advance of the publication of the full study in September. The study shows that 70% of municipal solid waste is product waste (waste that is not food or garden waste) and as such could be included under an EPR scheme. However currently only 45% of this product waste (by weight) is covered by the producer responsibility scheme. Furthermore, only 18% of product waste is collected separately through an EPR scheme.

The full study to be released in September will make a series of recommendations to the European Commission. Among these it will call for a broader definition and a more comprehensive approach to EPR which includes the use of economic instruments. The introduction of legally binding eco-design requirements as well as better EPR schemes with full-cost coverage, individualisation, targets for separate collection and the expansion of the current EPR scope to include more products.

Zero Waste Europe encourages the European Commission to take these findings into account in the up-coming proposal on the waste package[3] which will be presented before the end of the year.

Joan-Marc Simon, director of ZWE said This study provides new evidence about the potential for improving EPR schemes in Europe and the need to use the upcoming waste package proposal to ensure that producers really take responsibility whilst providing the appropriate incentives to redesign systems and products”

Contact: Joan-Marc Simon, info@zerowasteeurope.eu, +32 2503-49 11

ENDS

***

NOTES:

1. 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

2. Download Executive Summary

3. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/target_review.htm

IMAGES:

Figure 1: summary of total waste, product waste, EPR coverage and EPR separate collection.

Figure_4_EPR

Press Release: International Bag Free Day – New EU Directive paves the way for a Europe without plastic bags

INTERNATIONAL BAG FREE DAY: New EU Directive paves the way for a Europe without plastic bags

For more information: www.plasticbagfreeday.org

***

Brussels, July 3, 2015 – On International Plastic Bag Free Day, a coalition of environmental and waste prevention organisations [1] urge EU Member States to take measures on environmentally damaging single-use plastic bags in accordance with new EU Directive requirements.

Every year, the average EU citizen uses an estimated 500 plastic bags [2], 92.5% of which are single-use. Around 90 billion single-use plastic bags were used in the EU in 2010 [3]. Plastic bags make up around 40% of all the marine litter across UK waters and the North Sea [4], and a 2009 study showed that in the Bay of Biscay over 90% of waste items found on the seabed were plastic [5]. These petroleum based products contain toxic additives such as endocrine disruptors and carcinogens, which can migrate into marine environments and enter the food chain via marine fauna.

European citizens think it is time to take action. A 2014 survey carried out by the European Commission, found that 92 % of respondents agree that measures should be taken to reduce the use of single-use plastic items, such as shopping bags [6].

There has been recent progress by EU institutions on tackling this issue. In May, a new European Directive, 2015/720/UE,to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags entered in to force. The Directive requires Member States to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags with a thickness of below 50 microns by either:

– taking measures to reduce annual average consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags to 90 per person by the end of 2019, and 40 by 2025;

– or by ensuring that by the end of 2018, no more lightweight plastic carrier bags are handed over free of charge to shoppers.

Member states have a 18-month limit to transpose it into their national law.

However, this law allows oxo-degradable bags to continue to be used in Europe despite their disastrous impact on the marine environment, where they degrade into smaller pieces of plastics impossible to remove from the environment.

Joan-Marc Simon from Zero Waste Europe said: “Plastic pollution is a global problem waiting for a global solution. As an international player, the EU should lead by example and not lag behind other countries in reducing usage of single-use plastic bags. The EU has now a target for reduction in the use of plastic-bags, we call on member states to put in place necessary measures to make this a reality.”

Marta Beltran from Fundació Prevenció de Residus said: “Our society can not afford the waste of resources and the environmental, social and economic impacts of plastic bags, including the oxo-degradables bags whose impacts on the trophic chain must be avoided. We want Zero Plastic Bags everyday; it’s time for reusables.”

Meadhbh Bolger from Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Single-use plastic bags are an iconic example of how Europe is stuck in a linear economy, dependent on the continuous extraction of scarce virgin resources for throwaway products. EU decision-makers need to ensure that the new Circular Economy Package makes sure we keep resources in the economy for as long as possible and that reduced consumption, reuse and recycling are the norm across the continent.”

Antidia Citores from Surfrider Foundation Europe said: “29 European cities have already committed to ban single-use plastic bags within our “Ban the plastic bag campaign”. The European directive recently adopted now gives the possibility to EU member states to legally ban single use plastic bags. We now call on Member States, cities and citizens to engage themselves in our campaign and say no to disposable plastic bags which affect so strongly the marine environment.

Piotr Barczak from European Environmental Bureau said: The case of unnecessary plastic bags clearly shows that improving environmental performance and waste management does not rely only on modern solutions, but is often about societal change. Very often we just need to look at the modes of consumption that were present decades ago and that had much less impact on the environment, like, in this case, reusable packaging.

The sixth edition of International plastic bag-free day sees groups from all over the world organising activities to raise awareness on the environmental impact of single-use plastic bags and to demand that governments act to stop marine littering.

The International Plastic Bag-Free Day www.plasticbagfreeday.org is organised by Zero Waste Europe, GAIA and the Fundació Catalana per a la Prevenció de Residus i Consum.

ENDS

[1] Zero Waste Europe, GAIA, the European Environmental Bureau, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe and the Foundation for Waste Prevention.

[2] European Commission press release: Commission seeks views on reducing plastic bag use

[3] Green Paper On a European Strategy on Plastic Waste in the Environment.

[4] Data taken from the International Bottom Trawl Survey and the Clean Seas Environmental Monitoring Programme by CEFAS.

[5] OSPAR, 2009

[6] European Commission press release, 30th June 2014

[7] Directive 94/62/EC

***

CONTACTS

Joan-Marc Simon, Executive Director of Zero Waste Europe jm.simon@zerowasteeurope.eu , +32 2 503 49 11

Piotr Barczak, Policy Officer on Waste, European Environmental Bureau, wasteresource@eeb.org, +32 (0) 2289 10 97

Antidia Citores, Law and lobbying manager, Surfrider Foundation Europe, acitores@surfrider.eu, +33 6 32 68 90 36

Meadhbh Bolger, Resource use Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe, meadhbh.bolger@foeeurope.org, +32 2893 10 34

Marta Beltran, Coordinator of Waste Campaigns, Fundació Prevenció de Residus i Consum, info@residusiconsum.org, +34 676 488 720

To find out more about the international plastic bag-free day see: www.plasticbagfreeday.org

***

NOTES:

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

GAIA –Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives- is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries working for a world without waste. www.no-burn.org

Surfrider Foundation Europe is an environmental association, statute 1901, created in 1990 in France (Biarritz). During its existence, it has achieved real expertise in the areas of research, local action, as well as the creation and diffusion of educational tools. Today, it consists of a network of 1,700 volunteers, 10,000 members and 100,000 supporters in forty local offices that are active in twelve European countries. Find out more: www.surfrider.eu

The European Environmental Bureau is Europe’s largest federation of environmental organisations with more than 140 member organisations who gain their membership from the general public. The EEB is guided by the voices of 15 million European citizens, and acts as the ears and voice of its members towards EU decision makers and beyond. http://www.eeb.org/

Friends of the Earth Europe is the largest grassroots environmental network in Europe, uniting more than 30 national organisations with thousands of local groups: http://www.foeeurope.org

Fundació Prevenció de Residus i Consum -Catalan Foundation for Waste Prevention and Responsible Consumption- is a nonprofit organization driven by environmental organizations, universities, companies and municipalities. It promotes campaigns (like the International bag-free day, that begun in 2008 as a Catalan scope and leaded to the annual celebration worldwide) and projects in order to shift to a circular economy and a resource efficiency society. www.residusiconsum.org


New case study: The story of Gipuzkoa, the fastest transition towards Zero Waste in Europe

This case study proves that a fast transition to meet EU recycling targets is possible in less than 5 years

Zero Waste Europe publishes a new case study and video showing the transition of Gipuzkoa towards zero waste. This province located in the Spanish Basque Country has almost doubled recycling rates in five years and made investing in an incineration plant obsolete.

In 2011, the Province of Gipuzkoa decided to scrap the plans to build an oversized incineration plant and took steps towards Zero Waste, arguing that the plant was highly resource-consuming and it heavily endangered the circularity of resources. On top of saving € 250 million, Gipuzkoa has managed to meet EU targets 5 years earlier than expected.

Today, the province separately collects 51% of its municipal waste and plans to meet 70% by 2020. These improvements are even more significant when considering that only one fifth of Gipuzkoa’s population live in municipalities that have followed a transition, which prove that the results of these municipalities are outstanding, some of them above 80 or even 90% of separate collection.

Executive Director of ZWE, Joan-Marc Simon said “the transition we are seeing in Gipuzkoa proves that reaching the EU target of 50% recycling is completely feasible in only 5 years. Therefore, with enough political it should be possible for laggards to meet the targets for 2020 and aim at more ambitious targets for 2030.”

The drivers behind this change have been: political will, citizens mobilisation and participation, prioritisation of biowaste collection, intensive separate collection at source and not having built incineration capacity which would hijack prevention, reuse and recycling.

In less than five years, Gipuzkoa has moved from pushing for an outdated finalist treatments for waste to become Spain’s leading province in recycling, being above EU’s 2020 targets, and 12 points above Spanish average. Gipuzkoan towns have also proved that kerbside collection remains cheaper than roadside containers, while creating jobs and local economic activity.

Today, these case studies show that, in contrast with the outdated idea of burning or burying our waste, preventing, reusing and recycling it create jobs and resilience, save money, and protect the environment and public health.

You can download the case study here.

Watch the video of this case study

ENDS

Contact:

Joan Marc Simon

info@zerowasteeurope.eu

+32 25034911

Zero Waste Europe was created to empower communities to rethink their relationship with resources. In a growing number of regions, local groups of individuals, businesses and city officials are taking significant steps towards eliminating waste in our society. Read more about us here.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Follow us in FacebookTwitter and Linkedin

Visit our Youtube channel

This is the last of 6 case studies published by Zero Waste Europe. If you want to learn about these amazing practices download the case studies of Capannori (Italy), Argentona (Spain), Vhrnika (Slovenia), Contarina (Italy) and Ljubljana (Slovenia), and review the stories of their successes to date, providing an analysis of the key elements that allowed such impressive transition.


New case study: The story of Ljubljana, first Zero Waste capital in Europe!

This case study proves that high recycling targets are not only feasible, they also save money and create jobs

Zero Waste Europe publishes today a new case study showing the impressive transition of Ljubljana towards zero waste. The Slovenian capital is the first capital in Europe to declare the Zero Waste goal and today separately collects 61% of its municipal waste. It should be recalled that Slovenia joined the European Union in 2004 and before then it didn’t have proper waste separate collection in place.

Executive Director of ZWE, Joan-Marc Simon said “The case study of Ljubljana proves that it is possible for newest member states to reach most ambitius recycling targets in only a decade whilst keeping record low waste generation and costs. There is no reason for other Eu capitals or for the EU policy-makers to aim at less than what this experience proves as being possible and desirable.”

Snaga is the public company managing waste in Ljubljana and in 9 suburban municipalities serving around 380.000 residents. In average they have reached levels of source separation of 61% whilst generating only 121kg of non-recyclable waste per inhabitant and year. In contrast, the EU average level of source separation is 42% and a 285kg per inhabitant and year of residual waste.

In less than ten years, Ljubljana has become a frontrunner and is now 20% above the EU’s recycling rate and 10 points above EU’s 2020 targets. Furthermore, Ljubljana is committed to halving the amount of residuals and increasing separate collection to 78% by 2025.

Ljubljana has avoided incineration, while proving that going towards zero waste is completely feasible in a very short time. At the same time, it has made once again evident that effective door-to-door separate collection don’t only fall in the realm of small villages, but also work in large cities. Ljubljana has, therefore, managed to become the best performing EU capital, keeping one of the lowest waste management cost in Europe.

Today, these case studies show that, in contrast with the outdated idea of burning or burying our waste, preventing, reusing and recycling it create jobs and resilience, save money, and protect the environment and public health.

You can download the case study here.

ENDS

Contact:

Joan Marc Simon

info@zerowasteeurope.eu

+32 25034911

Zero Waste Europe was created to empower communities to rethink their relationship with resources. In a growing number of regions, local groups of individuals, businesses and city officials are taking significant steps towards eliminating waste in our society. Read more about us here.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Follow us in FacebookTwitter and Linkedin

Visit our Youtube channel

This is the last of 5 case studies published by Zero Waste Europe. If you want to learn about these amazing practices download the case studies of Capannori (Italy), Argentona (Spain), Vhrnika (Slovenia) and Contarina (Italy), and review the stories of their successes to date, providing an analysis of the key elements that allowed such impressive transition.


Press release: The 4 guiding principles for a Circular Economy

Brussels, 18 May 2015

After the withdrawal of the Circular Economy Package in February 2015, the European Commission committed itself to present a more ambitious proposal that would drive the European Union towards a truly circular economy.

Zero Waste Europe and a group of likeminded NGOs believe that, in order to create a circular economy, the new legislative package needs to focus on four interdependent pillars:

– efficient material management,

– reduction of toxic substances,

– energy efficiency,

– and economic incentives.

Joan-Marc Simon, Director of Zero Waste Europe saidIn order to reap the potential that the Circular Economy has to offer it is necessary to address material management, toxics, energy and economic incentives simultaneously. This wholistic approach is the silver bullet to trigger a multiplicator effect on employment, resource dependency, fight against climate change, health, agriculture and reduction of marine litter.”

EU policies should emphasize resource efficiency via product design related and waste policies that allow to phase out hazardous materials, enable and incentivise repaire and reuse of products and ensure the use of recycled and recyclable materials.

Toxic substances should be avoided at the design stage to allow products and materials to circulate in a closed loop without endangering the quality of materials and the health of citizens, workers and the environment. The new Circular Economy Package should therefore strengthen the REACH regulation.

EU energy policies should also be oriented towards energy preservation of prevention of re-use and recycling. The existing methodologies and premiums schemes should be revised to stop rewarding energy generation from burning waste incineration over preservation of energy embedded in products and materials.

Finally, the EU needs to change the current economic incentives that drive the linear consumption pattern in order to maximise resource efficiency and make it legally and economically viable to sell services instead of goods. Wasteful practices should be more expensive than efficient ones.

The document details how only through a coordinated and coherent policy addressing these four pillars, the European Union will be able to build a circular economy, capable of maximizing its benefits in terms of economic savings, job creation, energy and resource savings and healthier environment.

To download the document click here

ENDS

For more information:

ECOS
EEB
Friends of the Earth Europe
Health and Environment Alliance
Health Care Without Harm
Oceana
Quaker Council for European Affairs
Reloop
Rreuse
Seas-at-Risk
Surfrider Foundation
Zero Waste Europe

Contact:
Joan Marc Simon – Zero Waste Europe
news@zerowasteeurope.eu

+32 486832576

 


New case study: The story of Contarina shows 85% recycling is possible!

This case study proves that high recycling targets are not only feasible, they also save money and create jobs

Zero Waste Europe publishes today a new case study showing that in less than 15 years it is possible to reach more than 80% in separate collection whilst reducing costs and creating jobs.

Contarina is responsible for the management of waste in most of the province of Treviso where they serve 554,000 inhabitants and reaching average levels of source separation of 85% whilst generating only 53kg of non-recyclable waste per inhabitant and year. In contrast, the EU average level of source separation is 42% and a 285kg per inhabitant and year of residual waste.

Contarina Zero Waste goals

It’s not only these impressive rates that make Contarina a zero waste champion, but its commitment to continuously improve its performance and advance towards zero waste. Good proof of this is the goal to recycle 96,7% of the waste by 2022 and reduce the residual fraction to 10kg per inhabitant and year.

“This experience proves that the targets set in the circular economy package, which VP Timmermans plans to withdraw, are not only realistic but they are the right way to stimulate the economy; creating jobs and increasing resource efficiency” said Joan Marc Simon, Director of Zero Waste Europe

Today, these case studies show that, in contrast with the outdated idea of burning or burying our waste, preventing, reusing and recycling it create jobs and resilience, save money, and protect the environment and public health.

You can download the case study here

 

ENDS

 

Contact:

Joan Marc Simon

info@zerowasteeurope.eu

+32 486832576

Picture recycling, jobs and costs Contarina

Zero Waste Europe was created to empower communities to rethink their relationship with resources. In a growing number of regions, local groups of individuals, businesses and city officials are taking significant steps towards eliminating waste in our society. Read more about us here.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Follow us in FacebookTwitter and Linkedin

Visit our Youtube channel

 

This is the last of 4 case studies published by Zero Waste Europe. If you want to learn about these amazing practices download the case studies of Capannori (Italy), Argentona (Spain) and Vhrnika (Slovenia), and review the stories of their successes to date, providing an analysis of the key elements that allowed such impressive transition.



Don’t bin it! Europe needs the waste package

80% of Europeans want their country to waste less and an ample majority wants Europe to recycle more whereas business leaders warn about rising resource prices and need for increasing resource efficiency. So far the European Union was responding to this need with the Circular Economy package which was promising to create jobs and economic growth, boost recycling, promote new business models and reduce emissions.

Yet, according to leaked documents the new European Commission led by J.C.Juncker which took office in November wants to withdraw proposals on a number of issues including the waste package. And all in the name of growth and jobs, shaking off unnecessary legislation and easing the approval of the files.

How solid are these arguments?

Jobs and growth

According to the “old” European Commission:

“Achieving the new waste targets would create 180 000 new jobs, while making Europe more competitive and reducing demand for costly scarce resources.”

But the new EC wants to withdraw this and stay with what we have; a system that wastes resources and job opportunities.

Recycling is stagnating in Europe; we need the waste package!

The current Waste Framework Directive approved in 2010 was supposed to turn the EU into a “recycling society” yet for a number of reasons the recycling rates have stagnated and in 2012 the situation was the same as in 2009 –see graph-.

If the EU is serious about recourse efficiency it needs to improve current waste legislation and this is what the waste package was planning to do. Don’t bin it!

Disposal vs recycling EU 2008-2012

In contrast with the disappointing results at European level municipalities adopting Zero Waste goals are proving that it is true that a Zero Waste package increases jobs, recycling and economic activity, reduces waste and saves money. Examples here and here.

Realistic chance of adopting legislation

Juncker’s Commission argues that it will withdraw legislation that has not “realistic chance of being adopted”. The truth is that the initiative of the European Commission to withdraw the waste package has been opposed by 11 member states, most of the business community -except for reactionary group Business Europe-, cities and regions organisations and all NGO and civil society community.

The EC argues that the withdrawal is reasonable when “no agreement between EP and Council is foreseen”, yet this is a normal situation in the beginning of any negotiation process! If the new EC is to launch proposals for legislation only when agreement between EP and Council are guaranteed, prior to any political negotiation, it sets the bar of ambition to move the EU forward unacceptably low.

Why wait to propose the alternative?

The EC spokesperson claims that “the EC believes in the objectives of the proposals” and that scrapped proposals will be proposed again, but in a different and more effective way“. If this is true it is procedurally wrong to withdraw legislation without presenting the alternative plan to get to the same goal or, at very least, commit to present the alternative proposal by a certain date. It is irresponsible to park action in this field when the EU is running against the clock in the field of resource efficiency and job creation.

All in all, if the decision of the new EC to withdraw the waste package is confirmed one can state that:

– it is politically contradictory because it harms the potential of job creation and economic activity that the same EC claims to want to pursue,

– it is not based on facts. Objectively the EU needs measures to increase recycling and resource efficiency,

– it is procedurally questionable that an important piece of work is withdrawn without presenting an alternative. As long as the alternative is not presented the EC cannot claim that it supports the objectives of the Circular Economy.

 

The decision to withdraw the waste package would be against what the European citizens want and against what European citizens need. It also sends wrong sign to those in the world who regard the EU as leader in resource management
The waste package should be kept or a credible alternative to reach the same aims should be presented soon. Europe needs the waste package.

 

Joan Marc Simon

Executive Director
Zero Waste Europe


55 European and international civil society organisations ask commission to reject authorisation of hazardous DEHP in PVC plastic

logos

55 EUROPEAN AND INTERNATIONAL CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS ASK COMMISSION TO REJECT AUTHORISATION OF HAZARDOUS DEHP IN PVC PLASTIC

 

By early 2015, the Commission must decide whether or not to grant authorisation for the continued use of the plasticizer DEHP in PVC plastic (for both raw and recycled) articles in Europe [1] many of which end up in consumer products. This follows the delivery of opinions on this substance by the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) and Socio-Economic Committee (SEAC).

 

We, the undersigned human health and environment public interest groups, strongly oppose any authorisation for the use of DEHP in PVC articles for the following reasons:

 

By granting authorisation for the use of DEHP in a wide range of PVC products and in recycled PVC plastic, the Commission will fail the main objective of REACH

 

One of the main aims of the authorisation procedure is to ensure that substances of very high concern are “progressively replaced by suitable alternative substances or technologies where these are economically and technically viable.”

 

Furthermore, Article 1 of REACH establishes that the aim of the Regulation is to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment, and that substances that are placed on the market do not adversely affect human health and the environment.

 

The recommendation of ECHA to grant authorisation seriously undermines the REACH goals of protection and promotion of safer substitutes. Moreover, the principle of substitution did not have sufficient weight during the ECHA Committees’ deliberations. We therefore call into question the commitment of the EU public Agency, ECHA, to make this a priority focus over and above ‘toxic business as usual’. Without a strong substitution focus in the authorisation process, the European public and economy will not benefit from innovation in safer chemicals use.

 

Furthermore ECHA’s assessment is not consistent with other pieces of legislation in the EU, such as the Directive on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment which has recently called for a ban on four phthalates (including DEHP). This decision is broadly supported by the Commission and Member States because industry has demonstrated the availability of technically and economically feasible alternatives. Their socio-economic impact analysis indicates that a restriction of DEHP would have benefits for human health, the environment and safer waste management.

 

DEHP is highly toxic and hormonally active

 

DEHP is a well known toxic substance. It has already been listed on the REACH candidate list due to it being toxic to reproduction. Denmark has also proposed its listing on the REACH list of substances of very high concern (SVHC) as an endocrine disruptor. DEHP is a phthalate, a member of this group of “gender-bending” chemicals which because of their anti-androgenic / estrogenic properties and can cause feminization in males of several species. There is a growing body of evidence that certain phthalates, including DEHP, are implicated in causing breast cancer, testicular cancer, birth malformations in baby boys and infertility. Given that DEHP can act as a hormone disruptor, it is likely that there is no safe level of exposure. Moreover, this chemical is a suspected carcinogen and neuro and immune toxicant, and is associated with neurodevelopmental disorders in children.

 

DEHP is widely used such that there is ongoing exposure

 

DEHP in PVC is widely used in everyday consumer products-usually together with other phthalates, (textiles, furniture, shoes, building materials, etc.), as well as in PVC products in the work place (plastisols, paints, work cloths, boots, etc.). Citizens and the environment are continuously exposed to DEHP from multiple sources on a daily basis. DEHP (and its chemical counterparts) is found in PVC articles in high concentrations (10-60% by weight) and because DEHP is not chemically tightly bonded to the plastic, it easily leaches out. Therefore, DEHP is a ubiquitous contaminant that can be found throughout the European environment (air, water -even rainwater – and soil) as well as in the blood and urine of sampled European populations. At

particular risk are pregnant women, newborns and children who are subjected to this chemical at key stages of development.

 

DEHP is so hazardous that it continues to be the chemical that is most commonly notified to the RAPEX system – the EU’s rapid alert system on measures taken to prevent or restrict the marketing or use of products posing a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers.

 

Alternatives to DEHP are widely available

 

Alternative plasticisers for PVC and alternatives to PVC itself are available on the European market, for the whole range of current DEHP use in substances, materials, processes and technologies. In fact during the ECHA’s public consultation for these applications, companies ranging from suppliers to downstream users provided more than ample information on availability, technical and economic suitability of safer non-DEHP alternatives.

 

The applicants did not fulfil the conditions necessary for granting an authorisation

 

The applicants did not scientifically and robustly demonstrate that all the risks from the uses of this chemical can be, or are adequately controlled. Furthermore they did not make a compelling argument that the socio-economic benefits of ongoing use of DEHP in PVC plastic outweigh the risks to European consumers, families and the environment from ongoing exposure to DEHP. Nor did they provide adequate justification that suitable alternatives were unavailable to them.

 

ECHA’s opinion to allow the ongoing use of DEHP in a wide range of PVC plastic products is the result of a secretive and procedurally flawed process

 

During the public consultation on these applications, the European Chemicals Agency deemed relevant information ‘confidential business information’, hindering stakeholders’ meaningful and effective participation in the authorisation process. The public had no access to the information which resulted in the Risk Assessment Committee’s (RAC) opinion that adequate control could be achieved for this chemical with respect to exposure of the general population. RAC did not take into account the actual exposure of the European population to DEHP and dismissed both its endocrine disrupting properties and its impacts on adults, newborns and children, as well as dismissing information on the proven mixture toxicity of exposure to DEHP and other related phthalates.

 

ECHA’s Socio Economic Assessment Committee (SEAC) rubber stamps ‘business as usual’ over innovation and safer products

 

The applicants’ socioeconomic analyses is deeply flawed. However, instead of rejecting the application for authorization or instructing the applicants to do a more robust study (including taking into account the economic impact on Europe’s entire population from ongoing exposure to DEHP), the socio economic analysis committee (SEAC) carried out its own flawed ‘worst case scenario’ calculations. This concluded, with little real evidence, that the benefits for these few applicants outweigh the risks to society as a whole. This is even more disturbing considering ECHA acknowledged that the risks are not adequately controlled and that significant uncertainties and information gaps were identified in their assessment.

 

Therefore, we the undersigned organisations ask the Commission not to grant authorisation for the continued use of DEHP in PVC plastic products. The Commission needs to support the goals of REACH; the Commission is accountable to the European public for protecting citizens and the environment from hazardous chemicals, whilst promoting innovation including safer chemicals and products to ensure a resilient economy.

[1]

Three companies Arkema (France), ZAK (Poland) and Deza (Czech Republic) have applied to continue using this substance of very high concern (DEHP) in plastic (PVC) consumer articles such as flooring, upholstery, footwear, car seats and children’s clothing – all products to which the population is routinely exposed to on a daily basis.

Three other companies: VINYLOOP FERRARA, Stena Recycling and Plastic Planet have applied for the use of DEHP in recycled soft PVC containing articles.