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

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Waste management and circular economy

Waste - 20.09.2013

Revision of EU waste legislation: CEMR wishes to reinforce the ‘polluter pays’ principle
Improvements are needed in regards to the implementation of the ‘extended producer responsibility’ principle; one of the main ways of implementing the ‘polluter pays’ principle in the European legislation on waste. Council of European Municipalities and Regions representative Marianne Haugland conveyed this message when she addressed the European Commission and other involved parties at an international conference on extended producer responsibility on 19 September in Brussels.

The extended producer responsibility principle lays out the responsibility of the producer concerning the management of manufactured products said 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, for example. The principle is applied to products such as computers, batteries, and electronic equipment. Producers are thus responsible for the costs of collection, management, treatment, and eco-design of the product.

During her address, CEMR representative Marianne Haugland stated: “the full implementation of the extended producer responsibility principle is an important factor in the success of waste legislation and it is a necessary basis for cooperation between producers and local governments. The latter, by means of their national associations, should systematically be a part of the agreement establishing an extended producer responsibility scheme at the national level.”

CEMR calls for a broad and effective implementation of the extended producer responsibility principle rather than the introduction of additional measures for local and regional governments (such as higher targets for recycling). This involves close cooperation between producers and local authorities, the latter of whom are, most of the time, legally in charge of waste management on their territories.

CEMR’s working group on waste discussed the question of extended producer responsibility at a meeting on 12 September in Brussels. Participants expressed thoughts concerning the implementation of the principle in different Member States, as well as difficulties encountered by municipalities, and possible solutions to resolve them.

The objective of the working group is to contribute to the preparatory work by the European Commission regarding the revision of EU waste legislation. Within this framework, the Commission will publish a document aiming to facilitate implementation of the extended producer responsibility.
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