In the context of the European Green Deal, the EU is paving the way towards carbon-neutrality, through the newly published proposal for a European Climate Law. The latter sets the EU-wide legally binding objective for a carbon-neutral Europe by 2050.
FEAD welcomes this new proposed Climate Law and the intermediate targets of reducing CO2 emissions by 55 per cent by 2030. FEAD sees this as a positive way to address the climate emergency and the risks linked to resource scarcity and the threat on biodiversity. With the Climate Law requiring each economic sector to do its part by reducing their share of CO2 emissions, the private waste management sector represented by FEAD stresses the importance of the circular economy as an essential instrument to reach these ambitious climate objectives.
Currently, half of greenhouse emissions result from resource extraction and processing. Strong recycling policies leading to significant savings in resources and energy, while avoiding CO2 emissions can make a significant difference along products’ value chain. Favouring recycled materials over raw materials is only one way to do this. As a matter of fact, recycled PET, aluminum and textiles avoid more than 90 per cent CO2 emissions in comparison with products from virgin materials.
Private waste management companies are eager to play a major role in the circular economy. Yet, we need positive signals in the following directions:
- more robust recycling markets, with a true shock on demand for recyclates. As it currently stands, the uptake of recycled materials, such as paper and cardboard, is too weak within EU;
- mandatory recycled contents in certain products;
- mandatory green public procurement;
- EU policies that shift waste treatments higher up the waste hierarchy, including concrete measures to reduce landfilling across the EU. We believe this is an essential element for a successful Circular Economy Action plan and, ultimately, for the Climate Law;
- a level playing field for private waste management companies. More dynamic and efficient recycling markets are needed;
- the waste management sector should be considered as a positive contributor as far as CO2 emission reduction is concerned. It is noteworthy that our industry avoids more emissions than it emits.
We now expect the EU to set up the needed conditions allowing the waste management industry to act as their key ally in the ambitious climate objectives for 2030 and 2050.