MEPs to vote on burning waste issues

24 November 2006

Environmental NGOs urge MEPs to promote European recycling, not undermine it by re-branding incinerators

Brussels, 24 November - Friends of the Earth Europe and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) today challenged members of the European Parliament to vote down an attempt to promote incineration of waste at the expense of recycling and waste prevention.

As explained in a new briefing [1], the European Parliament's Environment Committee will vote on Tuesday on the revision of the Waste Framework Directive, which proposes to re-brand polluting and wasteful incinerators from 'disposal' to 'recovery'. Friends of the Earth Europe and EEB are urging MEPs to vote instead for a new EU target to recycle 70 percent of all waste by 2020, and to phase out landfill and incineration of reusable, recyclable and compostable material by 2025.

Dr Michael Warhurst, Waste & Resources Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said:
"MEPs have a chance to vote for a forward-looking recycling policy, which will help Europe's economy become more resource efficient and will reduce our impacts on climate change. The Commission's idea to re-brand incineration as 'recovery' is foolish - it would massively increase the amount of waste incinerated and would discourage waste recycling, reduction and re-use."

Discussion has been led by the UK Conservative MEP Caroline Jackson [2], who, while supporting proposals to balance the debate with positive targets for waste prevention has not incorporated the amendments promoting recycling or rejected the re-branding of incineration in her committee's compromise package.

Recent studies confirm that recycling not only saves precious resources such as metals, forests and oil - it also reduces climate emissions, as recycling is more energy efficient than manufacturing from virgin materials. One recent study [3] concludes that "UK recycling currently saves between 10-15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases per year compared to other waste management options".

Melissa Shinn, Waste policy officer at European Environment Bureau, said:
"Reclassification of incinerators as 'recovery' will promote export of waste from countries with strict, costly facilities like Germany to those with cheaper ones. It is completely unacceptable to turn places like France, Poland and the Czech Republic into the 'burning grounds' of Europe while emitting carbon dioxide transporting waste around the EU."


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Notes
[1] More information is available in a new policy briefing

[2] The Rapporteur is Caroline Jackson (UK Conservative, for PPE), the Shadow Rapporteurs are: Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru, for Greens), Bairbre de Brun (Sinn Fein, for GUE/NGL), Guido Sacconi (Italian Democratic Left, for PSE), Mojca Dr�ar Murko (Slovenian Liberal Democrat, for ALDE).

[3] "Environmental benefits of recycling: An international review of life cycle comparisons for key materials in the UK recycling Sector", Waste & Resources Action Programme, 2006.