Brussels — Leading federations representing the paper value chain call for the co-legislators to support the further increase of paper recycling and safeguard the “quantity” criterion in the definition of municipal waste. This is contrary to proposes to define municipal waste as mixed waste and separately collected waste from households plus “mixed waste and separately collected waste from other sources that is comparable to household waste in nature, composition and quantity”.
A lot of the debate has focused on the quantity criterion. The federations – CEPI, EuRIC and FEAD – believe that this is the only objective and measurable criterion. The quantity criterion is needed to clearly distinguish between municipal waste on one hand, and commercial and industrial waste on the other.
While paper from commercial and industrial sources is already collected and recycled at high levels, an untapped potential exists for household paper collection and similar sources, for which the waste directive is setting targets. If the quantity criterion is removed, the target for municipal solid waste will unduly include commercial and industrial waste and affect the accuracy of statistical data.
Moreover, the collection of commercial and industrial waste should not be financed and crosssubsidised by public funds, ultimately resulting in additional costs for taxpayers. In the absence of the quantity criterion there is a genuine risk that the scope of municipal waste is widened and therefore the focus is diverted from areas where the need to increase collection is the most acute. In order to ensure that all streams remain open to competition, instrumental to preserving cost-efficient and innovative waste markets, we support two key actions:
- Maintaining the quantity criterion in the definition of municipal waste;
- Clearly stipulate into the definition of municipal waste that it is neutral with regard to the public and private status: “The definition of municipal waste (…) is neutral with regard to the public or private status of the operator managing waste and to the ownership of the waste”.
Background: The full definition of municipal waste according to the Commission proposal for amending Directive 2008/98/EC is as follows: „‚municipal waste‘ means
- (a) mixed waste and separately collected waste from households including: – paper and cardboard, glass metals, plastics, bio-waste, wood, textiles, waste electrical and electronic equipment, waste batteries and accumulators; – bulky waste, including white goods, mattresses, furniture; – garden waste, including leaves, grass clipping;
- (b) mixed waste and separately collected waste from other sources that is comparable to household waste in nature, composition and quantity.
- (c) market cleansing waste and waste from street cleaning services, including street sweepings, the content of litter containers, waste from park and garden maintenance.
- Municipal waste does not include waste from sewage network and treatment, including sewage sludge and construction and demolition waste“
Source: CEPI – The Confederation of European Paper Industries / EuRIC – The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation / FEAD – The European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services