The report, stemming from a public consultation on the functioning of waste markets in the EU, looks at the main obstacles and regulatory failures impacting waste markets in the EU, and provides recommendations on how to address them.
The stakeholders in question include EXPRA, the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), CEWEP, European Battery Recycling Association (EBRA), EuRIC, Eurometaux, FEAD, Municipal Waste Europe, PRO-Europe, RReuse, and WEEE Forum.
Obstacles and regulatory failures across the EU occur despite the fact that the EU waste shipment regulation (WSR) contains provisions for free movement of waste destined for recovery within the EU. The obstacles identified include differing definitions of ‘waste’ across the Member States, different classification approaches to hazardous and non-hazardous waste, as well as the diverging application of end-of-waste criteria. Non-harmonisation of EPR schemes was also singled out as one of the key obstacles, alongside insufficient capacities for waste treatment, lack of EU-wide enforcement of waste legislation and some specific rules contained in the EU’s WSR.
Among its recommendations, the report proposes actions at both EU and national levels. Overall, the analysis produced 54 recommendations. In particular, the first recommendation on a Schengen area for recycling and recovery addresses the administrative burden created by the WSR. Such a zone should ensure free movement of waste for recovery and recycling to environmentally sound facilities, accompanied by strict controls at its borders. According to the authors of the report, this would address most of the identified market distortions, and necessitates changes to the waste shipment regulation (specifically Article 3) in order to abolish the notification requirements for waste for recovery and recycling in the EU. All currently notifiable waste, e.g. hazardous, unlisted and mixed municipal waste, should be included in the zone. To do so, the report highlights the need to first tackle issues related to traceability, ESM, safeguards in exceptional circumstances, as well as considering the broader context of international requirements.