EU in review of waste policy ‘red tape’

collect and recycleThe EU’s Landfill Directive, Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive and Waste Framework Directive are all set to come under scrutiny as the European Commission conducts a review of its waste policy with the aim of reducing red tape and businesses’ regulatory burdens, those taking advantage of the cardboard recycling services of Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com) may be interested to read.

The review, which will be presented next year, will examine requirements set out in waste legislation. Five of the EU directives dealing with separate waste streams, including legislation concerning batteries, end of life vehicles and packaging and packaging waste, will also be subject to ‘Fitness checks’. The Commission describes ‘Fitness checks’ as comprehensive policy evaluations assessing the fitness for purpose of a policy sector’s regulatory framework.

Also included in the waste policy review will be an assessment of how plastic waste can be best tackled, drawing on the Green Paper on a European Strategy on plastic waste in the Environment, which was released in March 2013 and discussed the potential for a plastics landfill ban.

The Commission launched the Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT), of which the waste policy is just a part, on October 2, after 74 per cent of Europeans responding to a Eurobarometer survey expressed a belief that there was too much EU red tape. Set out by REFIT are a range of policy areas where the withdrawal of pending proposals or the evaluation or repealing of existing laws may be considered by the Commission.

Waste recycling has certainly been known to cause stress among the owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the past. A Commission consultation earlier in 2013 found out that these businesses ranked workplace health and safety and the movement and treatment of waste as among the areas of EU legislation that represented the biggest burden.

At the beginning of 2014, the Commission is set to hold a workshop discussing the concerns of businesses in relation to EU waste legislation, and it also intends to take action to ensure greater business participation in the European Resource Efficiency Platform group.

With members including Commissioners, MEPs, academics and businesses, the Platform group aims to give member states guidance on the movement towards greater resource-efficiency in the European economy.

Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said that “With REFIT, the Commission has undertaken the most comprehensive exercise to date to make EU law lighter and simple. Today’s REFIT package provides a pragmatic outlook for the future of regulation in Europe just a few months ahead of the European elections in May 2014.”

Certainly, the review’s launch makes interesting news for many of our waste collections clients, and here at Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com), we’ll keep an eye out for any as-yet-unannounced legislative changes that may cause less anxiety among British business owners presently taking advantage of such services as the disposal of hazardous materials with us.

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