Germany – During the latest seminar organised by waste management association FEAD in Munich, European Commission environment official Michel Sponar argued that economic instruments are a highly convincing way to stimulate compliance with the EU’s hierarchy of waste management practices.
If financial precautions such as landfill and incineration taxes are left out of the equation entirely, the EU’s present-day objectives on waste will simply not be met, warned Mr Sponar. He believes a significant part of the problem can be attributed to the fact that there are still large disparities between various member states concerning waste legislation and overall waste management performance.
A paper published by FEAD supports this theory, claiming: ‘Further progress towards a resource-efficient recycling society can only be made if the right economic and regulatory framework conditions are put in place.’ Listing 10 ‘key actions’ in total, the association emphasises the need to ensure ‘fair competition’ by setting equal VAT rates for private and public parties and by reducing existing VAT rates to boost the use of secondary raw materials.
Additionally, the waste management organisation says it is necessary to apply ‘the right mix’ of measures because ‘legislation alone cannot bring optimal results’. According to Piotr Przygonski of Polish waste association PIGO, however, waste fees and landfill taxes in Poland are still too low to encourage more sustainable alternatives like recycling and reuse.
In light of the Commission’s recently-enhanced proposal for the Public Procurement Directives, FEAD says this could provide an interesting opportunity – ‘making it mandatory for public authorities to give preference to secondary raw materials, as the lowest price should never be the sole award criterion’.
To read the entire FEAD position paper, visit: www.endseurope.com/docs/120514b.pdf