Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Waste management and circular economy


From waste collection and transport to incineration and recycling, towns and cities are key players of waste management at the local level. They have many responsibilities and various areas of work, such as implementing prevention measures, in which other local players and citizens are involved.

EU waste legislation is very detailed, and has a direct impact on towns and cities. It sets waste management priorities (prevention, reuse, recycling, etc) and specific targets that have to be met, for municipal waste recycling for instance.

Moreover, waste management is part of the transition towards a circular economy, which was launched by the European Commission in 2015. The Action Plan for a Circular Economy sets up a concrete action plan that covers the whole life cycle of a product: from production and consumption to waste management and the secondary materials market.

This new package will have a direct impact on how towns and cities manage waste, as it includes a broader definition of municipal waste and no longer limits the definition simply to waste that is collected by local governments. Moreover, the new package determines waste treatment priorities (prevention, reuse, recycling, etc) as well as targets to be achieved, for instance, recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2030.

CEMR makes the voice of local and regional government heard in the European Institutions. In the coming months, we will make sure that the new package fully respects local governments’ diversity as well as competences and resources in waste management.

Expert group on waste

Our expert group helps assess European waste policies and revise quantified targets, such as recycling in municipalities.
Our goals:
  • To promote the perspective of local and regional governments regarding the revision of waste legislation;
  • To contribute to the thought process of the European Commission’s services to move towards a circular economy: improve the use of natural resources, the implementation of waste legislation and its possible revisions;
  • To raise legislators’ awareness about measures to take at the beginning of a product’s life cycle, particularly at the manufacturing stage (eco-design, packaging standards, preventative measures on waste, etc.);
  • To present tangible proposals to reinforce the principle of extended producer responsibility. This principle lays out the responsibility of the producer concerning the management of manufactured products that the producer has put on the market. It is of particular relevance at the end of the product’s life cycle, when the product is ready to be thrown away.

CEMR Coordinator : Axelle Griffon

CEMR spokesperson for environment

Councillor of Lincolnshire (United Kingdom), Marianne Overton
Chairperson of Hämeenlinna City Board (Finland), Sari Rautio

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