MEPs vote for European Recycling Society - and to cut our waste

13 February 2007

Strasbourg, 13 February - Friends of the Earth Europe and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) have welcomed a vote in the European Parliament today backing waste prevention and recycling as the key elements for dealing with waste in Europe. The environmental groups also congratulated MEPs for rejecting a misguided proposal to 're-brand' incineration, which would have promoted transporting and burning waste [1].

Dr Michael Warhurst, Waste and Resources Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said:

"MEPs have supported European targets for recycling and waste prevention, which will help Europe's economy become more resource efficient, and reduce our impacts on climate change. Their support for clear legislation supporting prevention, reuse and recycling, and their insistence on a biowaste Directive, will make a real difference in creating a sustainable Europe. Now national governments must also support these important measures."

Doreen Fedrigo, EEB's Waste Policy Officer said:

"Parliament has today added its voice to those of many EU countries by rejecting the Commission's proposal to reclassify incinerators as 'recovery' facilities. This would have encouraged countries with strict, costly facilities, like Germany to export waste to cheaper ones, such as the newer Member States which might have become the 'burning grounds' of Europe. The Commission now needs to rethink its approach."

Parliament voted for each Member State to recycle 50 percent of municipal waste and 70 percent of industrial, manufacturing, construction and demolition waste by 2020. It also voted for Governments to set up separate collection of key recyclable materials, and for the European Commission to propose a Directive on Biowaste by June 2008. In addition, Parliament voted that EU countries should stabilise their waste production by 2012, challenging the out-dated idea that we must always produce more and more waste.

Friends of the Earth and EEB are, however, concerned at a number of other elements of the vote today, in particular a legal status for by-products that may create a loophole in the legislation.

***

NOTES:

Pre-vote press notice

[1] More information is available in a new policy briefing, see file: FoEE_EEB_WasteBrief_Feb07[1].pdf (171.76 KB)