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

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Waste management and circular economy

Circular economy - 26.01.2016

Letter to MEPs: the new package should take into account towns and regions resources and competences
Last December, the European Commission published its long awaited circular economy package. With this new package the EU intends plans to achieve a more efficient waste management, a better eco-design and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

We, at CEMR, were pleased to see that most our key issues that we addressed in relation to the Commission’s previous proposal of 2014, were taken into account in the first draft. For instance, the new package “includes a broader definition of municipal waste and no longer limits the definition simply to the waste that is collected by local authorities.”

But this was only a first step. Discussions between the EU Commission, the Parliament and the Council are still ongoing until a final agreement will be adopted in 2016. 

In a letter sent to MEPs and relevant EU-decision makers, on 13 January, we offer our expertise as the largest organisation of local and regional governments, and open a dialogue, to:
  • show how towns and regions can act efficiently on the ground 
  • ensure a full respect of local government’s diversity as well as competences and resources in waste management 

Which CEMR's proposals were taken into account in the new package?
  • The new text takes into consideration waste that is used to produce energy and separate collection of bio-waste shall be ensured where technically, environmentally and economically is practicable and appropriate;
  • The early warning reporting system has been simplified and furthermore, the landfill directive now proposes a differentiated approach to the situation existing in the Member States;
  • The revised proposal for a waste directive sets concrete targets for reducing waste: a common EU target for recycling 65% of municipal waste and recycling 75% of packaging waste; and a binding landfill target to reduce landfill to maximum of 10% of all waste by 2030;
  • Minimum criteria for Extended Producer responsibility where all costs connected to collection are to be included and should be reflected in the product price;
  • The transition to a more circular economy will be supported financially by ESIF funding, €650 million from Horizon 2020, €5.5 billion from structural funds for waste management, and investments in the circular economy at national level.

The letter was sent to: 
  • MEP Simona Bonafe, rapporteur of the waste package;
  • MEP Sirpa Pietikaïnen, former rapporteur of the circular economy report;
  • Julio Garcia Burgues, Head of Unit A2 – waste management at the Environment Directorate-General - European Commission;
  • Francesco Pigliaru, Chair of the Commission for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy at the Committee of the Regions
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