Opinion factsheet

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    Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe

    BGCSDADEELENESETFIFRHRHUITLTLVMTNLPLPTROSKSLSV
    : CDR 4083/2014
    : GÂJU, Mariana
    : PES (Party of European Socialists)
    : ENVE
    : Adopted
    : 12/02/2015
    European Council to include a new resource productivity headline target of in the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 Strategy.
    Maintaining the level of ambition of the targets as proposed for re-use and recycling of municipal waste and for packaging waste, and of no landfilling by 1 January 2025 of recyclable and biodegradable waste.
    Conversion of the proposed optional target of a maximum of 5% landfilling of residual waste by 2030 into a binding target
    Introduction of a mandatory target for prevention/reduction of municipal waste in the EU.
    Retaining a single and unambiguous definition of municipal waste, whilst shifting its focus from who collects the waste to what exactly is collected.
    Establishing a single method of calculation for recycling targets, with clarification in the proposal of the calculation method and the definitions used, and for adjustments where necessary.
    Reinforce the provisions for the European Commission and Member States to promote ambitious eco-design and backs the proposal to introduce EPR minimum requirements.
    Comparison of the CoR with the EP resolution "Resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy":
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+TA+P8-TA-2015-0266+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN

    The European Parliament resolution of 9 July 2015 is in line with the CoR opinion in particular on the following issues:
    • the European Commission needs to come forward with a new ambitious proposal on the circular economy;
    • implementing a full-scale circular economy requires the involvement also of regions, cities, and local communities; (EP resolution point 9: " the European Commission needs to involve local and regional authorities throughout the development of the circular economy package");
    • increase of at least 30% in resource productivity by 2030;
    • recall of the potential of the circular economy to generate savings for business and to create sustainable jobs;
    • reinforcement by the EU of provisions/product standards to promote ambitious eco-design , with a broadening of the current eco-design Directive requirements through resource-efficiency criteria;
    • a minimum percentage of recycled materials to be used in marketed products (with the EP resolution calling on the European Commission to assess establishing minimum recycled material content in new products in connection with the future revision of the Eco-design Directive);
    • promotion of green public procurement to support a circular economy;
    • develop measures to facilitate the development of markets for secondary raw materials, creating a uniform legal framework/set of product standards;
    • setting clear minimum standards for extended producer responsibility requirements;
    • accelerated introduction of economic instruments in waste management;
    • unambiguous definition of municipal waste;
    • establishing a single method of calculation of recycling targets (with the EP being more specific on the method to be applied);
    • setting also a binding waste reduction target for municipal waste (CoR by 2020, with by 2020, the amount of municipal waste generated per person is reduced by 10% compared to the level recorded in 2010; EP by 2025, also for commercial and industrial waste, and accompanied by minimum requirements in the Waste Framework Directive for national waste prevention programmes, with e.g. comparable targets and indicators);
    • a binding ban on landfilling for 2030, except for certain hazardous waste and certain residual waste (CoR: with maximum 5% landfilling of residual waste; EP: except residual waste for which landfilling is the most environmentally sound option);
    • increasing recycling/preparation for reuse targets to at least 70 % of municipal solid waste and 80 % recycling of packaging waste by 2030 as proposed by the European Commission;
    • the need for additional binding provisions on biowaste – yet with different instruments suggested: EP calls for introducing mandatory separate collection for biowaste by 2020 and for a binding food waste reduction target of at least 30 % by 2025 in the manufacturing, retail/distribution, food service/hospitability sectors and the household sector; CoR calls for a binding bio-waste recycling target);
    • the need for external verification of Member States' waste statistics (with the CoR yet limiting this to only if the reliability of the data in the reports is in doubt);

    The European Parliament resolution is more ambitious then the CoR opinion in particular on the following issues. The European Parliament resolution:
    • calls for strictly limiting incineration, with or without energy recovery, by 2020, to non-recyclable and non-biodegradable waste;
    • stresses the need for a fiscal framework that is in accordance with the ‘polluter pays’ principle; calls for progress in this area to be pursued by the Member States as part of the European Semester process;
    • calls on the Commission to establish a permanent resource-efficiency platform, including all relevant stakeholders, so as to encourage and facilitate the application of the latest research findings, the exchange of best practices and the emergence of new industrial synthesis and industrial ecosystems (CoR opinion refers to EREP as the former platform in which the CoR participated, yet does not call for its extension);
    • calls on the European Commission to put forth the same waste targets for all the Member States so as to ensure an equally high level of environmental protection across the EU and so as not to undermine the single market (CoR opinion stays vague on this. It supports the EC proposal, yet underlines the need to take into account the different starting positions of member states in waste management);
    • calls on the European Commission to further investigate the feasibility of proposing a regulatory framework for enhanced landfill mining so as to permit the retrieval of secondary raw materials that are present in existing landfills and to examine the development of an environmental permit system for the recycling industry;
    • urges the Commission to propose a target to reduce marine litter by 50 % by 2025 compared with 2014 levels;
    • stresses the need to formulate targets for the collection and recycling of specific critical metals in the light of their growing scarcity and with a view to reducing dependency;

    The CoR Opinion is more ambitious in the European Parliament resolution in particular on the following issues. The CoR Opinion:
    • calls for establishing additional targets regarding preparation for reuse, which should be binding, discrete and specific to each waste flow, particularly for furniture, textiles and WEEE;
    • calls on the European Commission to assess whether or not a single construction and demolition waste (CDW) waste target is sufficient to incentivise the collection, sorting and recycling of different construction materials or whether specific targets for those construction materials with a smaller share in C&D waste would be necessary.

    European Commission new circular economy package of 2 December 2015:
    When withdrawing the July 2014 circular economy package, which formed the basis of this CoR opinion, the European Commission pledged to put forward 'a more ambitious proposal.'
    The CoR's follow-up activities to its opinion during 2015 insisted on this pledge by the European Commission.
    The new package includes lower waste-management targets then the CoR opinion called for. It does neither include a resource-efficiency target nor a waste prevention target, which both the CoR opinion has called for.
    The new package however includes in its action plan more detailed measures on the production and consumption phases, and on stimulating markets for secondary raw materials. This reflects the general call of the CoR opinion on the European Commission to take a more coherent approach to the circular economy, covering all phases of a product life cycle.
    THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



    - calls upon the European Council to include a new resource productivity headline target in the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 Strategy, as an increase of at least 30% in resource productivity by 2030, measured by GDP divided by Raw Material Consumption (RMC);

    - supports a single and unambiguous definition of municipal waste, which should be clarified by shifting its focus from who collects the waste to what is collected; and affirms the importance of establishing a single method of calculation for recycling targets, whilst calling for a clarification of the calculation method and the definitions used in the proposal, and to propose adjustments where necessary;

    - requests the introduction of a mandatory target for prevention/reduction of municipal waste in the EU by 2020, additional reuse targets specific to each waste flow, and a new bio-waste recycling target so as to encourage the development of this sector;

    - urges for the reinforcement of provisions for the European Commission and Member States to promote ambitious eco-design, also calling for concrete recommendations put forward for the percentage of recycled materials to be used in marketed products; backs the proposal to introduce EPR minimum requirements;

    - calls for maintaining the level of ambition of the targets as proposed by the Commission for re-use and recycling of municipal waste; for packaging waste for 2020, 2025 and 2030; and for 1 January 2025 as the date when no biodegradable waste should go to landfill and recyclable waste is recycled wherever technically and economically viable; calls for the proposed optional target of a maximum of 5% landfilling of residual waste by 2030 to be converted into a binding target.
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Importance

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2015
 

European Commission

European Commission presents its new circular economy roadmap and proposal for amending waste legislation (date tbc)

 
01 Dec
 

Rapporteur's activities

CoR ENVE commission conference on "Closing the loop in the Circular Economy: contributions and expectations from Europe's local and regional authorities"

 
28 Sep
 

European Parliament

EP Plenary votes resolution "Resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy"

 
08 Jul
 

European Commission

European Commission Circular Economy Conference

 
24 Jun
 

European Parliament

ENVI committee votes own-initiative report "Resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy"

 
15 Jun
 

European Commission

Group of European Commissioners decides on mandate for new circular economy package

 
04 May
 

European Commission

Public consultation by European Commission on production/consumption part of circular economy May-mid August

 
30 Apr
 

European Parliament

ENVI Committee holds exchange of views on the draft own-initiative report "Resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy"

 
13 Apr
 

Rapporteur's activities

Date tbc: Meetings with the two EP rapporteurs.

 
14 Mar
 

European Commission

European Commission publishes its decision (2015/C 80/08) to withdraw the legislative proposal amending several waste Directives

 
06 Mar
 

Rapporteur's activities

Dissemination of CoR Opinion to EU institutions including EP rapporteurs and shadow-rapporteurs by CoR secretariat.

 
28 Feb
 

CoR Plenary Session

Adoption during the CoR Plenary Session. Debate with EC Vice-President Timmermans on the intention of the European Commission to withdraw the legislative proposal amending waste Directives

 
11 Feb
 

Council

General Affairs Council. Majority of Member States objects to the European Commission plan to withdraw the legislative proposal.

 
09 Feb
 

European Parliament

EP hearing on circular economy. Dissemination of CoR draft opinion.

 
21 Jan
2014
 

Council

Environment Council objects to the European Commission' plan.

 
16 Dec
 

European Commission

European Commission in its work programme 2015 announces its plan to withdraw the legislative proposal and to re-present it in 2015.

 
15 Dec
 

CoR Commission activity

CoR ENVE commission adopts CoR draft opinion

 
10 Dec
 

Rapporteur's activities

CoR President sends letter to EC President Juncker on the EC work programme 2015. The letter requests the European Commission to maintain the legislative proposal.

 
27 Nov
 

CoR Stakeholder Consultation

Targeted consultation aimed at understanding the different positions on the issues covered by the opinion

 
04 Nov
 

Rapporteur's activities

Ms Gâju and her expert attend the newly created ACR+ Circular Economy Working Group, aimed at elaborating guidelines for improved planning and practical implementation of circular economy at local and regional level.

 
03 Nov
 

CoR Stakeholder Consultation

Targeted consultation aimed at understanding the different positions on the issues covered by the opinion

 
20 Oct
 

CoR Commission activity

The ENVE commission holds panel debate during its meeting in Bologna (Italy).

 
15 Oct
 

Rapporteur's activities

The rapporteur outlines the key elements of the draft report at the invitation of Michel Vauzelle, SUDEV co-chair and President of Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur Regional Council (France). On 19 September, members of the Commission for Sustainable Development (SUDEV) of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) met in Marseille to debate the recent developments linked to the Euro-Mediterranean strategy on environment and climate change as well as sustainable waste management at the local and regional level.

 
18 Sep
 

Rapporteur's activities

The CoR organises a Territorial Impact Assessment Workshop (TIA). The purpose of this exercise is to assess the potential territorial impacts of EU initiatives using Quick Scan methodology

 
08 Sep
 

Rapporteur's activities

Members of the Committee of the Regions' (CoR) Commission on Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE) participated in a study-visit to the European Environment Agency (EEA) in Copenhagen on 3 September. The rapporteur participated in the visit taking the opportunity of visiting the environment city projects of Copenhagen, winner of the 2014 European Green Capital Award.

 
02 Sep
 

Council

During the informal council meeting in Milan (Italy) the recent E.C. proposals Recycling/Green jobs were discussed.

 
15 Jul
 

Rapporteur's activities

 
 

ENVE Commission elects Ms Mariana Gâju (RO/PES) as rapporteur for the opinion: "Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe"

 
18 Jun
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