#25 - 2009
eNews is an electronic newsletter regularly available from the European Topic Centre on Resource and Waste Management (ETC/RWM) as a source of information for Eionet. This is the last version of eNews as the European Topic Centre on Resource and Waste Management. As of 1st of January 2009 we started the working as the European Topic Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production. In the next issue of eNews we will present the new Consortium including the partner organisations and new areas of work.
The headlines of this issue of eNews are:
Next Eionet Workshop
The European Environment Agency and its European Topic Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (ETC/SCP) hereby have the pleasure to announce the 12th Eionet workshop on sustainable consumption and production. The workshop will take place on 24th and 25th September 2009 in Fribourg, Switzerland. One of the objectives of the workshop is to present and discuss the ongoing work on the development of country fact sheets on SCP policies. Invitations will be sent before 1st July.
Forthcoming report on recycling
In the last couple of years there has been an ongoing discussion of future recycling levels in waste management in the EU; In June 2008 the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union agreed on new recycling targets for municipal waste (MSW) and construction and demolition waste (C&D). The agreement is part of the new EU Waste Framework Directive.
There is currently no clear overview of the level, nor composition of MSW recycling in the EU Member States. The situation is similar for C&D waste. Member States do not have an obligation to report data on the recycling level of these two waste streams to Eurostat or the EU Commission. However, national reports and statistics provide information on recycling of MSW and C&D in the EU Member States and also on the composition of the recycling.
The Topic Centre will soon release a technical report presenting the recycling levels of MSW and C&D waste in the EU and Norway, as well as which waste fractions are included in the total recycling levels. The recycling figures covers the period 1995 to 2006. In spring 2008 the figures were sent to the National Reference Centres for comments. Thank you to all the countries that sent additional data on recycling.
Waste without borders in the EU?
The EEA Report Waste Without Borders in the EU? was published at the begining of March 2009. The report presents (mainly EU) data on waste shipments within Europe and out of Europe for both so-called “notified waste” (mostly hazardous and problematic waste), as well as non-hazardous waste. It presents drivers for shipments but also gaps that still exist in our knowledge as regards some waste streams (such as e-waste) or what influence shipments have on the environment. It also presents some illegal shipments issues. A main conclusion is that more detailed reporting to the EU Commission on waste shipments would enable us to obtain a better understanding of the nature of shipments.
The report is based on the analysis contained in a ETC/RWM technical report Transboundary Shipment of Waste in the EU, prepared by the Topic Centre in 2008.
ISWA’s Task Force on Green House Gases
The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) has created a Task Force to address the climate issue, which is high on the policy agenda. By grasping the COP15 opportunity, ISWA would like to promote the waste industry’s potentials and render the waste activities visible to the decision-makers within the climate change framework.
The EEA has been invited to participate in the work of the Task Force. The EEA has decided to be an associated member of the Task Force and has asked the Topic Centre to represent the EEA.
The objectives of this informal consultation are to:
Country fact sheets on waste policies
The country fact sheets on waste policies in the 25 EU Member States were originally produced as background information for the country studies on Effectiveness of waste policies related to the landfill and other directives. The primary focus of the fact sheets were policies implemented with the aim of diverting municipal waste from landfills, with particular focus on biodegradable municipal waste and waste tyres. In order to show how these policies are embedded in the legislative framework on waste, a general overview of the main waste legislation was added.
In 2008 the fact sheets were redesigned to include information about policies on waste prevention and two particular waste streams: biodegradable municipal waste and construction and demolition waste. In order to complete the picture of the countries, the fact sheets were supplemented with general facts (e.g. population), waste indicators. In detail, a redesigned country fact sheet follows the following structure:
The redesigned fact sheets were sent out to the concerned countries for consultation in November 2008. The European Topic Centre would like to thank all the countries who have responded to our inquiry and sent us back the draft fact sheets. The new set of restructured and updated country fact sheets will include the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland.
The Country Fact Sheets will be available on the web by April 2009.
Effectiveness of municipal waste management policies in Europe
The Directive was debated for several years, and the policy makers back then finally agreed on a new paradigm to shift away from landfilling which was the prevailing waste disposal path in Europe. Drafting national policies in response to the Landfill Directive provided a perfect opportunity to put the waste hierarchy into practice. The diversion target of the Landfill Directive is directed at the biodegradable part of municipal waste as this fraction causes main environmental pressures when it decays in a landfill.
The EEA will publish our report in early 2009 that seeks insights into the most important questions of the effectiveness of waste policies. The key issues are diversion of total municipal waste and biodegradable municipal waste from landfill in the context of the EU Landfill Directive and other relevant directives. The Member States analysed (Estonia, Finland, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Italy) have chosen different strategies to arrive at the targets to divert biodegradable municipal waste set out in the EU Landfill Directive. Common elements are to implement separate collection and recycling schemes for waste fractions like paper, cardboard and bio-waste, to discourage landfilling of waste by for example landfill taxes or landfill bans, and to build up alternative treatment capacity for waste incineration, co-incineration or mechanical-biological treatment (mechanical-biological treatment is a pre-treatment method, where mixed household waste is mechanically separated into a high caloric Refuse Derived Fuel product and into a treatment residual, which is first digested or composted and then sent for landfilling or to dedicated incinerators).
The pace of implementation, the policy instruments, the choice of the priority waste treatment option as well as the starting points vary considerably between the countries – and sometimes even within countries.
The report Environmental Pressures from European Consumption and Production, summarises the findings of a multi-annual Topic Centre project.
The report examines the application of input/output analysis to matrices combining environmental and economic data for whole economies (NAMEAs). NAMEAs in their basic form provide useful information about which elements of an economy are directly responsible for a number of key environmental pressures. The integration of economic and environmental data in the NAMEAs also allows eco-efficiencies of different production sectors to be analysed and compared. Moreover, decoupling trends in individual pressures at the national level can be decomposed into eco-efficiency factors and changes in structure of the economy.
However, the real novelty of input/output analysis of NAMEA tables is that they can also be used to look at our consumption patterns and their environmental implications both within Europe but also the consequences of our consumption on pressures arising overseas. They can be used to identify which of the products we consume lead indirectly to the greatest global pressures and which have the highest environmental intensities. Such information can guide SCP policy towards the most important elements of consumption and production.
The report tests the potency of the tool by using NAMEAs from European countries as a test bed. For the more traditional view of direct pressures from production, a NAMEA for the EU-25 economy as a whole is used. For the consumption perspective, NAMEAs for 8 EU countries were constructed and analysed. In addition to the normal air emissions and greenhouse gases included in the environmental accounts in NAMEAs, the ETC also added in various categories of material consumption.
The results of the analysis can be found in the report. One key finding was that each of the consumption areas of eating and drinking, mobility and housing & infrastructures on their own lead to as much as or more GHGs per capita than Europeans can afford to emit for all their activities by 2050 if the European Commission's target for an 80% reduction is to be met.
The evaluation found that the method is potentially very useful in guiding policy but that its full potential is hindered by time lags in national economic accounts at a necessary level of detail. The latest data available for analysing European consumption at the time of publication was for the year 2000. Newer data is gradually being submitted to Eurostat for a number of EU countries. It is planned to update the report with 2005 data for those countries and publish as an EEA report in the autumn.
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The aim of the electronic newsletter is to provide the National Focal Points (NFPs) and the National Reference Centres (NRCs) with information on the activities of the Topic Centre. The newsletters will also report on the expected involvement of Eionet in the future and inform on progress on reports, which have been sent to the EEA for Eionet review and consultation.