What are the latest developments concerning environmental legislation globally? We’ve picked out some highlights for you for November 2020.
European Commission launches public consultation on packaging
The European Commission has launched a new consultation on packaging and packaging waste. The consultation addresses businesses and consumers alike and aims to identify measures to improve the recycling of packaging waste and reduce its overall volume. The results of the consultation will feed into the planned revision of the European Union’s Packaging Directive.
The Commission wants all packaging to be designed in such a way that it is reusable or recyclable in an economically viable manner by 2030. This is to be achieved by revising the essential requirements for packaging and reducing the complexity of the material combinations used. In order to prevent packaging waste, the Commission also plans to take measures against unnecessary over-packaging.
Stakeholders have until 6 January 2021 to participate in the consultation by completing the online questionnaire.
Update on the planned revision of the waste shipment regulation
The European Commission is currently working on a revision of the Waste Shipment Regulation in order to align it with the overriding goal of developing a circular economy. The legislative proposal is expected to be published in spring 2021.
The Commission wants the revised Waste Shipment Regulation to contribute to the following objectives:
- ensuring a smooth functioning of the European Union’s internal market for waste and supporting the transition towards a circular economy,
- better guaranteeing that waste shipped to third countries is managed in an environmentally sound manner, and
- better preventing and addressing illegal shipments of waste.
A recent stakeholder workshop hosted by the Commission revealed the complexity of the issue along with differences over how to set rules that would contribute to the above goals. However, there was agreement that the current regulations urgently need to be revised.
JRC is working on waste disposal report
On behalf of the Directorate-General for Environment, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) is working on a report on waste disposal in the European Union, collecting recent data and analysing the different situations in Member States.
The JRC’s goal is to compile a list of existing waste disposal operations and to identify policy options, e.g. with regard to further restricting landfill of municipal waste or to imposing a disposal reduction target.
The report is a requirement from both the Waste Framework Directive and the Landfill Directive and is expected to be finalised by the end of the year.
At a workshop on 22 October, the JRC presented the interim status of the study and gave stakeholders the opportunity to comment. In addition to representatives from Member States and recycling associations, Landbell Group participated in the virtual workshop.
Amendments to German battery and packaging laws officially adopted
Germany’s upper and lower houses, the Bundesrat and the Bundestag (see article from previous Compass) have approved the amendments to the German battery law.
The new legislative framework can therefore enter into force on 1 January 2021 as planned. The most important changes include creating a level-playing field between take-back schemes and raising the collection rate to 50 percent.
The law implementing the European Union’s Waste Framework Directive has also been officially adopted, including the amended definition of composite packaging (see article from previous Compass).
The Bundesrat’s environmental committee had recommended to veto the law as it does not address the existing enforcement problems sufficiently. However, the institution’s plenary did not follow this recommendation.
The law implementing the European Union’s Waste Framework Directive is already published in the country’s Official Journal and can be found here.