Friday

19th Jan 2018

Brussels names EU waste management villains

  • A number of member states have yet to implement EU waste management legislation (Photo: United Nations Photo)

A report released by the European Commission on Tuesday (7 August) ranked southern European and newer member states as the worst offenders of poor municipal waste management in the EU.

"Many member states are still landfilling huge amounts of municipal waste – the worst waste management option – despite better alternatives, and despite structural funds being available to finance better options," said EU environment commissioner Janez Potocnik in a statement.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovakia are failing to implement EU waste legislation.

The 12 member states are highly reliant on landfilling, with other treatment options rarely in place.

Biodegradable waste such as food and kitchen waste from households is commonly disposed of in landfills and recycling is rare.

Biodegradable waste found in landfills in Malta, Cyprus and Greece is now higher than figures produced in 1995. Methane (a greenhouse gas), as a result, is generated and then released into the environment.

Bulgaria does not recycle any of its municipal waste and Romania only recycles 1.3 percent.

The EU landfill directive, which aims to prevent damage to the environment using a set of strict guidelines, requires member states to set up national targets to prevent biodegradable waste from ever reaching landfills.

But 10 member states, including the UK, neither have a ban nor any restrictions for the disposal of municipal waste in landfills.

The worst overall offender is Greece, with deficits noted in all areas of waste management. Only one of its total 71 landfills for non-hazardous waste complies with the EU landfill directive.

The commission noted that valuable resources are instead being buried along with toxins that could adversely affect human health and the environment.

It also estimated the poorly managed sites cost the EU some €72 billion a year.

It said full implementation of EU waste legislation would increase the annual turnover of waste management and the recycling sector by €42 billion and create over 400,000 jobs by 2020.

"Potential economic benefits are being lost, jobs in the waste management sector are not being created, and human health and the environment suffer. This is hard to defend in our present economic circumstances," said Potocnik.

On the other end of the spectrum, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden have waste collection systems that ensures less than 5 percent of all waste ends up in the ground.

Brussels is now looking into linking EU structural funds with better waste management practices.

Waste management projects will only receive EU funds if the member states can demonstrate that their current systems favour prevention, reuse and recycling.

EU faces multiple trade wars defending green policies

EU measures to cut CO2 emissions and improve the climate have sparked outrage in the global aviation industry and most recently in Canada, home to the world’s second largest fossil fuel reserves.

EIB 'more sensitive' to fraud after Dieselgate

The president of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, said the bank had high standards - but did not explain why an anti-fraud report on a loan to Volkswagen was being kept secret.

EUobserved

UK silent on EU origins of plastic bags law

UK prime minister Theresa May is expected to announce that a ban on free plastic bags will extend to all shops. By doing so, the UK will fulfil a requirement of an EU directive.

Germany to let slip 2020 climate target

Prospective governing coalition partners give up on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in 2020, saying instead they will achieve that in the early 2020s.

Commission and council dig in on GMO opt-outs

The European Commission and the EU's national governments pass each other the buck on who should move first on a heavily-criticised proposal on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food.

News in Brief

  1. Germany confirms attendance at air quality summit
  2. Nearly half of 'fixed' Dieselgate cars show problems
  3. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook up hate speech deletion
  4. UK mulls bridge to France
  5. German far-right float anti-asylum bill
  6. EU Parliament to investigate glyphosate-decision process
  7. 'Mutagenesis' falls outside EU's GMO rules, says EU top lawyer
  8. Decision on Polish MEP's Nazi-era slur postponed

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on the agenda This WEEK
  2. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  3. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  4. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  5. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  6. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names
  7. EU to lend Greece up to €7bn more next week
  8. Nato prepares to take in Macedonia