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Resource Efficiency

Conference assesses Europe’s progress towards meeting 2020 waste and resource efficiency targets


The European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (FEAD), which represents approximately 3,000 companies operating in European waste management, recently held its annual conference in Ghent, Belgium. The conference, entitled ‘Milestones 2020 – the Role of Sustainable Waste Management in Shaping the Future of a Resource-Efficient Europe’, focused on whether, five years into the revised Waste Framework Directive (WFD), Europe is on track for meeting the 2020 milestones and how the resource efficiency agenda could be more fully integrated into an open market. Read more…

The conference's second and final session was entitled ‘The Right Framework Conditions for Ensuring Resource Efficiency in an Open Market’. Mathieu Fichter, from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional Policy, explained the current and future framework of EU funding policies for the waste management sector. He said there was a major opportunity to incorporate waste management, resource efficiency and related innovation into the new national and regional research and innovation strategies for Smart Specialisation, a policy designed to promote the effective use of public investment in research.

The 130 delegates from 17 Member States also discussed the advantages and disadvantages of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes that can improve the quality of recycling. The European Commission is conducting a study on benchmarking EPR systems in Europe, which is expected to be published in spring 2014.

Julio Garcia Burgués, Head of DG Environment’s Waste Unit, told the conference that although there were notable differences among Member States, Europe was gradually moving in the right direction. He said the challenge now for the European Commission was to retain a high level of ambition, while ensuring proposals are realistic and achievable.

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