EC consultation on waste markets

The EU's waste management industry has a high potential for growth and job creation. In order to fulfil such potential and facilitate the transition towards a more Circular Economy, the EC wants to deepen its understanding of EU waste markets, focussing in particular on possible regulatory failures.

According to existing rules, waste to be prepared for re-use, recycled or subject to other recovery activities should move freely within the EU, without any unjustified restrictions. In line with the Waste Shipment Regulation (EC 1013/2006), only certain specific reasons may be used to restrict the free movement of waste for recycling and recovery (e.g. that the person shipping the waste has previously been convicted of illegal shipments). 

In some cases, however, the regulatory environment may hamper the efficient functioning of waste markets and fail to ensure optimal implementation of the waste hierarchy (this being: prevention; preparing for re-use; recycling; other recovery, e.g. energy recovery; and disposal). 

Such regulatory failures may result from policy and legislative actions taken at EU, national, regional or local levels. Some may arise in connection with the application and interpretation of EU legal requirements (e.g. the Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) or the Waste Shipment Regulation); others may be the result of national, regional or local rules and requirements which are not directly linked to EU legislation. 

The EC has recently opened a consultation on these topics, which includes consideration of regulatory failures at EU and national, regional and local levels. It wants to better understand the nature and extent of regulatory failures that cause undue distortions to EU waste markets for recycling and recovery. The information gathered will help finalise a study that the EC launched in January 2015 (on the efficient functioning of waste markets in the EU) the above-mentioned study and be considered during preparation of the EC’s new initiative on the 'Circular Economy'. 

Please see the EU waste markets consultation webpage for further details and link to the on-line questionnaire.  Deadline for responses: 04/09/2015.

Question 10 asks respondents to rate drivers/causes of regulatory failures or obstacles to the efficient functioning of waste markets, and item i) on the list is ‘Application of national end-of-waste criteria established in accordance with the Waste Framework Directive’.  

At the REA we perceive that national end of waste criteria for composts and digestates used UK countries are supporting the waste management hierarchy and not unduly distorting EU markets for wastes that can be recycled or recovered. Consequently we would rate these UK criteria as 'not important', i.e. not a cause or driver of EU waste market distortion. 

REA response

REA has responded to the on-line questionnaire and sent an updated version of its answers to the European Commission, the latter including important comments that there wasn't space for in the on-line submission.  The additional comments covered a few extra points about the potential establishment of End of Waste criteria at EU level and the impact this could have on UK production of compost and digestate products.

Members wishing to discuss these topics should contact Emily Nichols ( or 07771 556231).
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