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A7-0203/2010

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P7_TA(2010)0264

REPORT     
PDF 232kDOC 155k
16 June 2010
PE 440.140v03-00 A7-0203/2010

on the Commission Green Paper on the management of bio-waste in the European Union

(2009/2153(INI))

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Rapporteur: José Manuel Fernandes

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
 OPINION of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the Commission Green Paper on the management of bio-waste in the European Union

(2009/2153(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Articles 191 and 192 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which aim to promote a high level of protection for human health and the environment,

–   having regard to the Commission Green Paper on the management of bio-waste in the European Union (COM(2008)0811),

–   having regard to the conclusions adopted by the Council of the European Union on 25 June 2009 (11462/09 of 26 June 2009),

–   having regard to Directive 2006/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2006 on waste(1),

–   having regard to Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26 April 1999 on the landfill of waste(2),

–    having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2002 on the Council’s final common position with a view to the adoption of the decision of the European Parliament and the Council establishing the sixth Community action programme on the environment(3);

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2008 on sustainable agriculture and biogas: a need for review of EU legislation(4);

–   having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2009 on ‘2050: The future begins today – Recommendations for the EU’s future integrated policy on climate change’(5),

–   having regard to its resolution of 10 April 2008 on the mid-term review of the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme(6),

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 November 2007 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for the protection of soil and amending Directive 2004/35/EC(7),

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 November 2007 on the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection(8),

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2005 on the Council common position for adopting a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on shipments of waste;(9)

–   having regard to its resolution of 29 September 2005 on the share of renewable energy in the EU and proposals for concrete actions(10),

–   having regard to its resolution of 17 June 2008 on the Council common position with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste and repealing certain Directives(11),

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 February 2007 on a thematic strategy on the recycling of waste(12),

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinions of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A7-0203/2010),

A. whereas the Commission initiative promoted in its Green Paper provides an opportunity for Community action on the management of bio-waste,

B.  whereas the proper management of bio-waste brings not only environmental but also social and economic advantages,

C. whereas Article 2(4) of the Waste Framework Directive provides that specific or supplementary rules on the management of particular categories of waste may be laid down by means of individual directives,

D.  whereas Directive 99/31/EC on the landfill of waste does not provide sufficient instruments for the sustainable management of organic waste,

E.  whereas the rules on the management of bio-waste are fragmented and the current legislative instruments are not sufficient to achieve the stated objectives of the effective management of bio-waste; whereas, consequently, a specific directive is necessary for the management of bio-waste; whereas compiling all the various rules on the management of bio-waste in a single piece of legislation would in itself be an exercise in legislative excellence and better lawmaking, whilst at the same time ensuring simplification, greater clarity and better monitoring and enforcement of implementation and legal certainty and thus guaranteeing the long-term confidence of public and private investors,

F.  whereas the conclusions of the conference on the recycling of bio-waste in Europe, held in Barcelona on 15 February 2010 with the participation of the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament,(13) stated that it is necessary to act in order to create a European legislative framework on bio-waste, since this is a key moment to promote such regulation,

G. whereas a specific directive on bio-waste should have the necessary flexibility to cover the various management options available, bearing in mind that there are a large number of variables and local considerations that need to be taken into account,

H. noting the unexplored potential of bio-waste managed in line with widely differing policies in each Member State; whereas improved management of this waste is necessary in order to achieve the efficient and sustainable management of resources; whereas the separate collection of bio-waste should be stepped up in order to reach the targets for recycling and renewable energies and thereby contribute to achieving the goals of the EU 2020 strategy, in particular within the framework of the flagship of resource efficiency,

I.   whereas separate collection permits, in particular, the optimal management of certain types of bio-waste, i.e. kitchen waste at consumer and catering levels and also biodegradable and compostable waste from restaurants employing single-use crockery items,

J.   whereas composting organic waste permits the recycling of the biodegradable and compostable products already covered by a Community initiative (the Lead Market Initiative),

K. whereas EU-level quality standards need to be defined for the treatment of bio-waste and the quality of compost; whereas regulating the quality parameters for compost, including an integrated approach ensuring traceability, quality and safe use, will make it possible to build consumer confidence in this product; whereas compost should be graded in line with its quality, to the extent that the use of compost will have no detrimental effect for soil and groundwater, and in particular for the agricultural produce stemming from that soil,

L.  whereas, given their poor implementation, the objectives set for diverting bio-waste from landfills require additional legislative guidelines if they are to be achieved,

M. whereas protective measures can be necessary to ensure that the use of compost does not result in pollution of soil or groundwater,

N.  whereas the possibilities for using poor-quality compost so as not to harm the environment or human health should also be considered and assessed, and whereas, at EU level, properly defining the possibilities for using poor-quality compost and establishing when compost is considered a product and when it is considered waste would make it easier for Member States to orient themselves when deciding on matters relating to compost use,

O.  whereas a resource-efficient Europe is one of the flagships of the Europe 2020 Strategy and therefore resource efficiency should be encouraged; whereas recycling of bio-waste contributes towards increasing resource efficiency,

P.  whereas moist bio-waste lowers the efficiency of incineration; whereas the incineration of bio-waste is indirectly encouraged through the Directive on Electricity Production from Renewable Energy Sources; whereas bio-waste can better contribute to combating climate change through recycling it into compost to improve soil quality and achieve carbon sequestration, which is not currently promoted by the Directive on Electricity Production from Renewable Energy Sources,

Q. whereas anaerobic digestion for the production of biogas is an efficient means of energy recovery; while the digestate thereof can be used to produce compost,

R.  whereas the main aim of the appropriate management of bio-waste must be the result, which means that all the technological options for the management of bio-waste can be kept open to encourage innovation, scientific research and competitiveness,

S.  whereas there is a significant synergy between the transition to a recycling society developing a low carbon economy and the potential for creating green jobs in this field, and consequently a need for appropriations to be earmarked for research into the impact on the working environment of the collection and management of bio-waste,

T.  whereas the Commission and Member States should promote environmental awareness-raising activities in this field, particularly in schools, so as to foster the sustainable management of solid urban waste and raise public awareness of the advantages of separate collection; whereas municipalities and municipal undertakings play an important role in providing advice and information for the public on preventing waste,

U. whereas bio-waste accounts for more than 30% of solid urban waste; whereas the volume of bio-waste is rising in the European Union, representing a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions and other negative environmental effects when dumped in landfills in conditions owing to which waste management is now the fourth most important source of greenhouse gases;

V.  whereas it is not only bio-waste of household origin that is being treated sustainably in practice,

W. whereas the management of such waste should be structured in line with the ‘waste hierarchy’: prevention and reduction, reuse, recycling, other types of recovery, in particular for energy purposes, and as the last option, landfilling (in accordance with Article 4 of the Waste Framework Directive), according to which the recycling of bio-waste is preferable to its incineration as it not only avoids the formation of methane gas, but also contributes to combating climate change via carbon sequestration and improving soil quality; whereas prevention is the priority objective in the management of bio-waste and makes it possible, in particular, to avoid food waste and green waste, for example through the improved planning of public parks with low-maintenance plants and trees,

X. whereas, if we are to move towards an environmentally effective management of bio-waste, the matter needs to be viewed from an integrated perspective in energy and soil protection policies, in line with climate change mitigation goals; whereas a further advantage is the preservation of biodiversity when treated bio-waste is used as a substitute for peat, thereby protecting wetland eco-systems,

Y.  whereas anaerobic digestion to produce biogas from bio-waste can make a valuable contribution to sustainable resource management in the EU and to meeting the EU’s renewable energy targets in a sustainable way,

Z.  whereas bio-waste should be seen as a valuable natural resource that can be used to produce high-quality compost, thereby helping to combat soil degradation in Europe, maintaining soil productivity, reducing the use of chemical fertilisers in agriculture, and especially of those based on phosphorus, and boosting the soil’s water retention capacity,

AA.whereas different waste management systems are used in the Member States and landfilling is still the most widely used method of disposing of solid urban waste in the European Union, even though it is the worst option for the environment,

AB.whereas the production of fuel for transport from bio-waste offers a significant environmental advantage;

AC.whereas scientific research and technological innovation need to be encouraged in the field of bio-waste management,

AD.whereas separate collection currently makes it possible to prevent contamination and help achieve the goal of obtaining high-quality compost, providing quality materials for the recycling of bio-waste and making energy recovery more efficient,

AE.whereas the available studies and experience in the Member States show that it is important to have a separate collection which is both practicable as well as environmentally and economically sustainableand which should be made compulsory;whereas separate collection should be the prerequisite for the production of high quality compost,

Legislation:

1.  Urges the Commission to review the existing legislation applicable to bio-waste with a view, in accordance with the subsidiarity principle, to drawing up a proposal for a specific directive by the end of 2010, including inter alia:

- establishment of a mandatory separate collection system for the Member States, except where this is not the appropriate option from the environmental and economic point of view,

- recycling of bio-waste,

-a quality-based classification of the different types of compost from bio-waste;

2.  Calls on the Commission to provide a quantification under the National Emissions Plan of the CO2-equivalent reductions obtained from recycling and composting;

3.   Notes that a future European Union framework would provide legal guidance and clarity for many Member States and would encourage them to make investments in the field of bio-waste management; urges the Commission to support the Member States in introducing waste separation systems and to introduce binding and ambitious targets for the recycling of this waste;

4.  Recalls that the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme 2001-2010 of 22 July 2002 obliged the Commission to develop legislation on biodegradable waste in its Article 8(2)(iv) as one priority action to achieve the objective of sustainable use and management of natural resources and wastes, but that even eight years later no legislative proposal has been forthcoming, which is unacceptable,

5.   Calls on the Commission to elaborate in its impact assessment an improved system for the management of bio-waste regarding the recycling of separately collected bio-waste, the use of composting for agricultural and ecological benefit, the mechanical/biological treatment options, and the use of bio-waste as a source for generating energy; considers that this impact assessment should be used as a basis for preparing a new European Union legal framework on biodegradable waste;

Use:

6.  Urges the Commission to lay down criteria in conjunction with Member States for the prodcution and use of high-quality compost and to adopt minimum requirements for end products, in accordance with Article 6 of the Waste Framework Directive, which permits quality-grading covering different types of use for the various types of compost obtained through the treatment of bio-waste in the framework of a strategy based on an integrated approach ensuring not only quality but also product traceability and safe use;

Energy:

7.  Considers anaerobic digestion to be especially useful for bio-waste because it yields nutrient-rich soil improver, digestate, and also biogas, which is renewable energy that can be converted to biomethane or used to generate base-load electricity;

8.  Believes that, in order for bio-waste incineration to become a viable alternative in the waste hierarchy, a crucial prerequisite is that it be coupled with energy recovery;

9.   Stresses that, during energy recovery from bio-waste, attention must be paid to energy efficiency and sustainable development aspects and that these products should therefore primarily be used in the most efficient manner; reiterates therefore that separate refuse collections are essential in order to comply with the Landfill Directive(14),to provide quality input to bio-waste recycling and to improve the efficiency of energy recovery;

10. Notes that in order to increase diversion, recycling and biogas generation rates, all technological tools and options that maximise resource recycling or biogas generation should be left open.

11. Considers bio-waste to be a valuable renewable resource for the production of electricity and biofuel for transport and for feeding into the gas network through conversion of biogas into biomethane (mainly methane – 50% to 75% – and carbon dioxide), and calls on the Commission to analyse and promote ways of using bio-waste to produce biogas;

12. Stresses that diverting bio-waste from landfills needs to be increased; notes, in this context, that bio-waste can contribute to the EU target of at least 20 % renewable energy by 2020 and also that of the EU Fuel Quality Directive; recalls that the Renewables Directive supports the use of all types of biomass, including bio-waste for energy purposes, as a renewable source of energy, and that bio-fuels from waste count double towards the 10 % renewable energy target in transport; calls, therefore, on Member States to consider energy recovery from the biodegradable parts of waste in their national legislation as part of an integrated waste hierarchy policy and urges them to share best practice ideas;

Research and innovation:

13. Urges the Commission and Member States to encourage and support scientific research and technological innovation in the field of bio-waste management;

14. Calls on the Commission to engage further in research into bio-waste treatment methods in order to better quantify its soil-related benefits, as well as its energy recovery and the environmental impacts;

Awareness and information:

15. Urges the Commission and the Member States to promote environmental awareness-raising activities in the field of bio-waste, particularly in schools and higher education institutions so as to promote better waste prevention behaviour patterns, to foster the sustainable management of bio-waste and municipal solid waste and to raise public awareness of waste prevention and recycling as well as the advantages of separate collection and the biological treatment of bio-waste; stresses in this context the important role of towns, municipalities and municipal undertakings in advising and informing citizens about prevention of waste;

Environmental aspects:

16. Considers that treated bio-waste should be used to conserve organic matter and complete nutrient cycles, especially the phosphate cycle, by recycling it into the soil and calls therefore on the Commission to recognise that policies should be tested for their contributions to mitigating the unacceptably rapid depletion of the world’s phosphate resources;

17. Stresses that bio-waste which is free of pollutants needs to be regarded as a valuable natural resource that can be used to produce quality compost;

18. Considers that the future of agriculture also depends on conservation and restoration of soil fertility; notes that the use of quality compost in farming can contribute to preserving land productivity, increasing water retention and carbon storage capacity and reducing the use of synthetic fertilisers; stresses the role of Member States in ensuring the use of quality compost on agricultural land;

19. Points out that the monitoring of gases given off by substances in landfill may be hindered during composting, which may pose a major threat to the environment and the atmosphere; recalls that correct composting – particularly of municipal bio-waste – involves protecting groundwater against leachate from the composting plant;

20. Stresses that, with a view to attaining objectives at various levels (combating climatic warming, soil degradation and soil erosion; attaining renewable energy objectives), a combination of composting and fermentation of selectively collected bio-waste, if feasible, undoubtedly possesses advantages and should be encouraged;

21. Calls therefore on the Commission to propose national bio-waste recycling targets to limit the amount of bio-waste available for the least desirable waste management solutions like landfilling and incineration;

Compliance with Landfill Directive:

22. Reiterates that bio-waste management must be structured in line with the waste treatment hierarchy, namely: prevention, recycling, other forms of waste recovery, including energy recovery, and, as a last option, disposal in landfills (Directive 1999/31/EC, Art. 5 and Directive 2008/98/EC); calls on the Commission to make greater efforts to enforce and secure the application of the laws on landfilling throughout the the Community;

23. Notes that the individual Member States have different existing national legislative measures and different waste management systems and that the use of landfill continues to be the most common disposal method for municipal solid waste in the European Union; calls on the Member States to increase their cooperation and their exchange of best practices in the field of bio-waste management;

24. Considers mechanical-biological treatment (MBT) to be an effective way of diverting significant quantities of putrescible waste away from landfills for use in composting, anaerobic digestion and energy recovery;

Economic aspects:

25. Considers that financial incentives are needed to expand this separate collection and other bio-waste management systems that maximise resource recovery;

26.  Stresses that improvements in bio-waste management and the harmonisation of quality standards for compost are needed to encourage the development of a European market for compost;

27. Considers that the ‘polluter pays’ principle should be taken as the basis for compensation for additional costs arising from inputs of pollutants, so that the negative externalities of spreading bio-waste are not paid for by farmers;

28. Underlines the fact that in many Member States some infrastructure is already in place but that financial incentives are required to create and establish the potential markets in compost and digestate, bioenergy and biofuel from bio-waste;

29. Underlines the environmental advantage of producing transport fuels from bio-waste; ; , calls for Member States, in the light of the waste hierarchy, to take this into account when they implement the revised Waste Framework Directive, and for the Commission to reflect this in its implementing guidelines;

30. Urges the Commission to include in all current or additional impact studies on the matter the question of what type of economic incentives, funds or aids could be mobilised or created for the development and implantation of technologies permitting the proper management of bio-waste;

31. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1)

OJ L 114, 27.4.2006, p. 9.

(2)

OJ L 182, 16.7.1999, p. 1.

(3)

OJ C 271E, 7.11.2002, p. 154.

(4)

OJ C 66E, 20.3.2009, p.29.

(5)

OJ C 67E, 18.3.2010, p.44.

(6)

OJ C 247E, 15.10.2009, p.18.

(7)

OJ C 282E, 6.11.2008, p.281.

(8)

OJ C 282E, 6.11.2008, p.138.

(9)

OJ C 272E, 9.11.2006, p 59.

(10)

OJ C 227E, 21.9.2006, p. 599.

(11)

OJ C 286E, 27.11.2009, p. 81.

(12)

OJ C 287E, 29.11.2007, p. 135.

(13)

Note from the Council Secretariat, 9 March 2010, Council document 7307/10.

(14)

Directive 1999/31/EC, Recital 17.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

With the growth of the EU's economy and territory, constantly rising quantities of waste are continuing to be produced. The amount of bio-waste arising in the EU each year is estimated at between 76.5 and 102 million tonnes in food and garden waste and 37 million tonnes from the food and drink industry.

The first priority must be to prevent / reduce waste, thereby deriving major environmental and economic benefits. This can be achieved through legislation and raising public awareness. It is hoped that the European citizen, instilled with a renewed and participatory environmental awareness, will help to achieve this goal. Prevention should be interpreted in its wider sense, meaning that the best waste is the one that does not exist or will not become one.

A further strategic objective of waste management policy must be to transform the EU into a recycling society. The enormous quantity of waste produced every day in the EU cannot simply be squandered. Bio-waste plays an important part in combating climate change and offers valuable potential in terms of protecting the soil and promoting the production of renewable energies, and is therefore a significant factor in the recovery of this volume of waste. This means that sustainable development can be promoted through the efficient management of resources.

The role of bio-waste in combating climate change

After energy, industry and agriculture, waste is the fourth largest source of greenhouse gases in the European Union. According to 2004 figures, a total of 109 million tonnes of greenhouse gases were released in the waste sector.

The main source of emissions is landfilling. Even though it is the cheapest option in the short term, landfilling is the worst option for the environment, involving environmental liability and higher maintenance costs. The main gas produced by landfills is methane, which, if not captured, is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in terms of climate change effects.

Moreover, the leachate produced by landfilling, if not collected in accordance with the Landfill Directive, can contaminate groundwater and soil as well as generating bio-aerosols, unpleasant smells and visual disturbances. A further negative aspect of landfilling is the area of land used, which is larger than for other waste management options and leads in the long term to the irrecoverable loss of land, which means that this is not a sustainable option. It is therefore urgent to divert bio-waste from landfills.

The potential of bio-waste in combating soil degradation

The 2006 Thematic Strategy on Soil Protection (COM(2006)231 final) describes soil degradation as a serious problem in the European Union. Soil degradation has a direct impact on water and air quality, biodiversity and the climate.

Bio-waste can play a crucial role in the recovery of soil if it is used for composting. Composting is the most appropriate treatment option for green waste and offers the advantage that it can be used to fertilise the soil. According to the Thematic Strategy on Soil Protection, soil degradation could cost up to €38 billion a year.

Compost production should place the emphasis on the result, the goal being high-quality compost. According to the Thematic Strategy on Soil Protection, compost is one of the best sources of stable organic matter from which new humus can be formed in damaged soil. Using compost offers agronomic benefits, such as improved soil structure, moisture infiltration, water retention capacity, soil microorganisms and supply with nutrients. It is estimated that 45% of European soils have low organic matter content. In this context it is important to encourage the production of high-quality compost based on the appropriate treatment of bio-waste.

The potential of bio-waste in promoting renewable energies

Bio-waste can also represent an important raw material for the production of bio-energy. Bio-energy is created from anaerobic digestion, which is the most appropriate treatment option for wet bio-waste (such as waste kitchen fat). Anaerobic digestion produces bio-gas in controlled reactors that can be used to generate electricity, for heating or as bio-fuel for cars.

Lower-quality bio-waste which does not meet the quality criteria for composting should be processed into energy and graded according to quality.

The current management of bio-waste

Up to now, bio-waste has been managed in line with widely differing policies in each Member State, ranging from minimum actions in some countries to ambitious policies in others. There is a wide discrepancy between those Member States that recycle least (90% landfilling, 10% recycling and energy recovery) and those with the most efficient approaches (10% landfilling, 25% energy recovery and 65% recycling).

Current EU legislation does not restrict the Member States' choices in terms of the treatment options for bio-waste provided that they meet certain framework conditions, in particular those laid down by the Waste Framework Directive, where Member States are urged to take measures that encourage: the separate collection of bio-waste with a view to composting and anaerobic digestion; the treatment of bio-waste in a way that fulfils a high level of environmental protection; and the use of environmentally safe materials produced from bio-waste. The Landfill Directive also stipulates that bio-waste should gradually be diverted from landfills.

However, these legislative instruments have not achieved their intended objectives. Given the poor implementation of the goal of diversion of bio-waste from landfills by Member States, it is clear that additional measures need to be introduced to complement the Landfill Directive.

The future of bio-waste management

A specific directive for bio-waste management would be a key pillar for the implementation of the principles arising from the Waste Framework Directive and other directives relating to waste management in general. Moreover, compiling all the various rules on the management of bio-waste in a single piece of legislation would in itself be an exercise in legislative excellence and better lawmaking. A specific directive for bio-waste management would offer greater clarity, simplification and legal certainty in this area, thus guaranteeing the long-term confidence of public and private investors.

It is not desirable to impose the most beneficial management option, since there are a large number of variables and local considerations that need to be taken into account. Furthermore, the investments already made by the Member States should not be jeopardized. A directive on the management of bio-waste should therefore allow a degree of flexibility so that the best solution from an environmental and economic point of view can be identified locally. Nevertheless, the establishment of standards for environmental convergence in this area are crucial to direct new investments.

One of the directions should be taken towards the separate collection of bio-waste to the extent that the separation of bio-waste from other waste streams can prevent contamination and promote the objective of obtaining a high quality compost, provide materials quality for the recycling of bio-waste and improve efficiency of energy recovery. Separate collection should therefore be mandatory. The Member States could nevertheless be exempted from this obligation where it is not viable or not the best option from the environmental and economic point of view (for example where the logistics of separate collection do not make it possible to prevent bio-waste from being contaminated, or where the imposition of a separate collection infrastructure is not environmentally justified in rural or sparsely populated areas).

The importance of bio-waste regulation is not only of environmental relevance but also relevant for the internal market functioning, since we now have situations where compost produced from bio-waste may be regarded as waste in one place and as a product in another. Here too the Member States' policies need to be harmonised through a specific directive on bio-waste.

Waste management also has significant social implications. For example, the recycling industry creates up to 250 jobs where 10 000 tonnes of waste are recycled, by comparison with between 20 and 40 jobs created when waste is incinerated and around 10 jobs when it is dumped in landfills.

Compiling the various fragmented rules on bio-waste, in combination with new rules, in a single specific directive on the management of bio-waste would make it possible to manage resources more efficiently and cut the costs of bio-waste management. It would also make it possible to restore organic matter in soils and reduce the use of chemical fertilisers, help the Member States achieve the objectives of diverting bio-waste from landfills, encourage separate collection, clarify the point at which material produced from bio-waste is considered a product, and promote technological innovation and job creation in line with the EU 2020 Strategy.

In the present economic crisis, the European institutions must not resign or curtail their ambitions of leadership on environmental issues. We cannot continue with the current situation in the EU where such a large percentage of waste is dumped in landfills. Although this option seems to be the cheapest, it is actually the most expensive given its long-term costs, it does nothing to help achieve our objectives in terms of combating climate change and does not make it possible to use bio-waste as a resource. By advocating a simultaneous separate collection, we engage citizens in a new environmental awareness, while reducing costs and encouraging the valorisation of bio-waste as a product.

With a specific Directive for bio-waste that points in this direction, we are able to combine a high environmental protection and sustainable growth with the assurance of quality of life for European citizens.


OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (22.3.2010)

for the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

on the Commission Green Paper on the management of bio-waste in the European Union

(2009/2153(INI))

Rapporteur: Giles Chichester

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy calls on the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Recalls the established waste hierarchy presented in the Waste Framework Directive for which landfilling is considered as the worst option; stresses that bio-waste must first be reduced then collected separately and recycled, in particular by recovering energy, where possible, and through composting;

2.  Notes that bio-waste constitutes a significant part of waste (also in urban areas) and that a huge unexploited potential exists today in many Member States to use bio-waste as compost by collecting it separately, but also to recover energy and materials from waste in general, with the aim of diverting waste from landfills;

3.  Stresses the role which reused bio-waste in the form of compost can play in combating climate change soil degradation and erosion; calls on Member States to provide for composting in their national legislation and urges that they exchange best practices; stresses that improvements in bio-waste management and the harmonisation of quality standards for compost are needed to encourage the development of a European market for compost;

4.  Stresses that diverting bio-waste from landfills needs to be increased, notes, in this context, that bio-waste can contribute to the EU target of at least 20 % renewable energy by 2020 and also that of the EU Fuel Quality Directive; recalls that the Renewables Directive supports the use of all types of biomass, including bio-waste for energy purposes, as a renewable source of energy, and that bio-fuels from waste count double towards the 10 % renewable energy target in transport; calls, therefore, on Member States to consider energy recovery from the biodegradable parts of waste in their national legislation as part of an integrated waste hierarchy policy and urges them to share best practice ideas;

5.  Calls on Member States to outline how, taking into account their specific geographic and climatic conditions, energy from bio-waste including anaerobic digestion for biogas and advanced biofuels production can contribute to exploiting the potential of existing biomass resources;

6.  Draws attention to the importance of strengthening public awareness and acceptance of bio-waste separate collection, recycling and energy recovery, namely through media and educational campaigns;

7.  Recognises the need for Member States to set up a consistent and stable legal framework which supports the construction of facilities for composting and energy recovery from (bio)waste;

8.  Stresses that, with a view to attaining the objectives at various levels (combating warming of the climate, soil degradation and soil erosion; attaining renewable energy objectives), a combination of composting and fermentation of selectively collected bio-waste, if feasible, undoubtedly possesses advantages and should be encouraged;

9.  Underlines the fact that in many Member States some infrastructure is already in place but financial incentives are required to create and establish the potential compost and digestate, bioenergy and biofuel markets from bio-waste;

10. While taking into account the need for compliance with the Waste Incineration Directive (WID) standards, encourages regional and local authorities to make use of existing decentralised district heating and cooling facilities and to use structural funds for financing waste-to-energy, composting and energy recovery from bio-waste facilities so as to be able to divert more waste from landfills;

11. Considers food waste disposers linked to public sewerage systems to be an option for diverting bio-waste from landfills and producing biogas from bio-waste;

12. Notes that waste-to-energy plants and other facilities for energy recovery from bio-waste benefit from the same conditions of access to electricity grids and gas pipelines as other renewable energy sources;

13. Underlines the environmental advantage of producing transport fuels from bio-waste; calls, therefore, for biofuels from bio-waste to count towards recycling targets; calls for the definition of bio-waste in the Waste Framework Directive to be aligned with that of the Renewable Energy Directive;

14.  Emphasises the importance of keeping open all technical options for managing bio-waste so as to encourage innovation and job creation in this field;

15. Calls on the Commission to elaborate in its impact assessment an improved system for the management of bio-waste regarding the recycling of separately collected bio-waste, the use of composting for agricultural and ecological benefit, the mechanical/biological treatment options, and the use of bio-waste as a source for generating energy; considers that this impact assessment should be used as a basis for preparing a new European Union legal framework on biodegradable waste;

16. Stresses that the whole range of biodegradable waste must be considered in order to promote compost production and recovery from all waste flows; points out that biodegradable waste includes not only bio-waste but also sewage sludge and the part of household waste which is fermentable (soiled or unsorted paper and cardboard, certain textiles, etc.);

17. Stresses that separate collection of bio-waste or other bio-waste management systems that maximise resource recovery should be incorporated in a European Union framework and calls on Member States to consider establishing separate collection schemes for bio-waste; considers that financial incentives are needed to expand this separate collection and other bio-waste management systems that maximise resource recovery;

18. Notes that a future European Union framework would provide legal guidance and clarity for many Member States and would encourage them to make investments in the field of bio-waste management;

19. Calls on the Commission to further engage in research into bio-waste treatment methods in order to better quantify the soil-related benefits, as well as the energy recovery and the environmental impacts.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

18.3.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

48

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Jean-Pierre Audy, Zigmantas Balčytis, Zoltán Balczó, Jan Březina, Reinhard Bütikofer, Maria Da Graça Carvalho, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Giles Chichester, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Ioan Enciu, Adam Gierek, Norbert Glante, Fiona Hall, Jacky Hénin, Romana Jordan Cizelj, Sajjad Karim, Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš, Judith A. Merkies, Angelika Niebler, Jaroslav Paška, Herbert Reul, Teresa Riera Madurell, Michèle Rivasi, Paul Rübig, Amalia Sartori, Francisco Sosa Wagner, Konrad Szymański, Britta Thomsen, Patrizia Toia, Evžen Tošenovský, Ioannis A. Tsoukalas, Claude Turmes, Marita Ulvskog, Vladimir Urutchev, Adina-Ioana Vălean, Kathleen Van Brempt, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Henri Weber

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

António Fernando Correia De Campos, Rachida Dati, Andrzej Grzyb, Jolanta Emilia Hibner, Oriol Junqueras Vies, Ivailo Kalfin, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Vladko Todorov Panayotov, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău, Hermann Winkler


OPINION of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (25.2.2010)

for the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

on the Commission Green Paper on the management of bio-waste in the European Union

(2009/2153(INI))

Rapporteur: Salvatore Caronna

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development calls on the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.   Supports the Commission’s initiative on Community action on bio-waste management, promoted through its green paper;

2.   Notes that bio-waste accounts for more than 30 % of municipal solid waste; is of the opinion that better management of bio-waste will contribute to sustainable resource management and meeting recycling and renewable energy targets;

3.   Believes that bio-waste management should be part of a sustainable waste management cycle aimed at the rational use and conservation of resources and reducing the environmental impact;

4.   Reiterates that bio-waste management must be structured in line with the waste treatment hierarchy, namely: prevention, recycling, other forms of waste recovery, including energy recovery, and, as a last option, disposal in landfills (Directive 1991/31/EC, Art. 5);

5.   Considers that the optimal decision in favour of a treatment procedure should be taken only in the light of an examination of the local situation (settlement structure, structure of the bio-waste, existing installations, etc.);

6.   Stresses that, during energy recovery from bio-waste, attention must be paid to energy efficiency and sustainable development aspects and that these products should therefore primarily be used in the most efficient manner;

7.   Stresses that bio-waste management includes waste prevention, recycling, composting and energy recovery, in accordance with the waste hierarchy laid out in Directive 2008/98/EC;

8.   Considers mechanical-biological treatment (MBT) to be an effective way of diverting significant quantities of putrescible waste away from landfills for use in composting, anaerobic digestion and energy recovery;

9.   Stresses that bio-waste which is free of pollutants needs to be regarded as a valuable natural resource that can be used to produce quality compost;

10. Considers that the future of agriculture also depends on conservation and restoration of soil fertility; notes that the use of quality compost in farming can contribute to preserving land productivity, increasing water retention, carbon storage capacity and reducing the use of synthetic fertilisers; stresses the role of Member States in ensuring the use of quality compost on agricultural land;

11. Stresses the need for clearly defined quality standards on bio-waste treatment and compost quality in order to avoid the gradual pollution of soils; asks the Commission to assess the option of legislative proposals on qualitative criteria for compost and digestate, which should be based on the prerequisite of separate collection;

12. Points out that the monitoring of gases given off by substances in landfill may be hindered during composting, which may pose a major threat to the environment and the atmosphere; it should be borne in mind that correct composting – particularly of municipal bio-waste – involves protecting groundwater against leachate from the composting plant;

13. Considers that the 'polluter pays' principle should be taken as the basis for compensation for additional costs arising from inputs of pollutants, so that the negative externalities of spreading bio-waste are not paid for by farmers;

14. Reiterates that separate refuse collections are essential in order to comply with the Landfill Directive (Directive 1999/31/EC, Recital 17), provide quality input to bio-waste recycling and improve the efficiency of energy recovery; urges the Commission to support the Member States in introducing waste separation systems and to introduce binding and ambitious targets for the recycling of this waste;

15. Believes a crucial prerequisite for bio-waste incineration to become a viable alternative in the waste hierarchy is that it be coupled with energy recovery;

16. Considers bio-waste to be a valuable renewable resource for the production of electricity and biofuel for means of transport and for feeding into the gas network through conversion of biogas into biomethane (mainly methane – 50% to 75% – and carbon dioxide), and calls on the Commission to analyse and promote ways of using bio-waste to produce biogas;

17. Considers that Community legislation should encourage arrangements which permit biogas to be fed into the natural gas network;

18. Notes that the individual Member States have different existing national legislative measures and different waste management systems and that the use of landfill continues to be the most common disposal method for municipal solid waste in the European Union; calls on the Commission to make greater efforts to enforce and secure the application of the laws on landfilling throughout the Community and to assess the need for a legislative proposal on biodegradable waste as soon as possible, also in order to ensure that bio-waste is prevented from reaching landfill; calls on the Member States to increase their cooperation and their exchange of best practices in the field of bio-waste management;

19. Calls for greater public understanding of the complexity of the waste chain, including education about proper sorting and handling of waste; calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote educational measures for the public and particularly at schools in order to encourage sustainable management of municipal solid waste, and to draw attention to the benefits of waste separation; stresses in this context the important role of towns, municipalities and municipal undertakings in advising and informing citizens about prevention of waste;

20. Calls on the Commission to investigate in what trading areas for bio-waste energy efficiency is greatest;

21. Notes that the recycling of waste is on the rise in Western Europe, while in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe recycling rates remain very low; calls on the Commission, therefore, to promote environmental policies in the field of waste management aimed at tackling the increased generation of waste.

.    

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

23.2.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

38

1

2

Members present for the final vote

John Stuart Agnew, Richard Ashworth, Liam Aylward, Christophe Béchu, José Bové, Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă, Michel Dantin, Paolo De Castro, Albert Deß, Herbert Dorfmann, Lorenzo Fontana, Iratxe García Pérez, Martin Häusling, Esther Herranz García, Peter Jahr, Elisabeth Jeggle, Elisabeth Köstinger, Giovanni La Via, Stéphane Le Foll, George Lyon, Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez, Gabriel Mato Adrover, Mairead McGuinness, Mariya Nedelcheva, James Nicholson, Rareş-Lucian Niculescu, Wojciech Michał Olejniczak, Georgios Papastamkos, Marit Paulsen, Britta Reimers, Alfreds Rubiks, Giancarlo Scotta’, Alyn Smith, Marc Tarabella, Janusz Wojciechowski

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Salvatore Caronna, Spyros Danellis, Esther de Lange, Filip Kaczmarek, Hans-Peter Mayer, Maria do Céu Patrão Neves


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

2.6.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

55

3

0

Members present for the final vote

János Áder, Elena Oana Antonescu, Kriton Arsenis, Pilar Ayuso, Paolo Bartolozzi, Sandrine Bélier, Martin Callanan, Nessa Childers, Chris Davies, Bairbre de Brún, Esther de Lange, Anne Delvaux, Bas Eickhout, Edite Estrela, Jill Evans, Karl-Heinz Florenz, Elisabetta Gardini, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Julie Girling, Françoise Grossetête, Dan Jørgensen, Karin Kadenbach, Christa Klaß, Jo Leinen, Corinne Lepage, Peter Liese, Linda McAvan, Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė, Vladko Todorov Panayotov, Gilles Pargneaux, Antonyia Parvanova, Andres Perello Rodriguez, Sirpa Pietikäinen, Mario Pirillo, Pavel Poc, Vittorio Prodi, Frédérique Ries, Oreste Rossi, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Carl Schlyter, Horst Schnellhardt, Theodoros Skylakakis, Bogusław Sonik, Catherine Soullie, Salvatore Tatarella, Anja Weisgerber, Glenis Willmott, Sabine Wils, Marina Yannakoudakis

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

José Manuel Fernandes, Gaston Franco, Esther Herranz García, Bill Newton Dunn, Rovana Plumb, Bart Staes, Kathleen Van Brempt, Anna Záborská

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Willy Meyer

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