At present there is a lack of clear and coherent definitions, which are the same in all EU environmental legislation, of essential concepts like ‘residue’ and ‘by-product’ used in such legislation. This creates legal uncertainties for companies operating in the EU internal market. Clear and coherent definitions are important to ensure fair competition, and it is therefore essential that materials are correctly classified in the same way in all Member States.
It should be noted that the EU Court of Justice, when interpreting the definition of waste, has pointed out that a production residue constitutes waste, and has defined it as a product not sought or intended as such. It has concluded that a material that is produced intentionally is not a production residue, nor consequently waste. The Court has also concluded that materials resulting from a manufacturing process which are not intentionally produced, but which a company intends to exploit or market on economically advantageous terms in a subsequent process, without prior processing, constitute a by-product(1).
In the answer it gave to Written Question E‑004386/12 on renewable energy and definition of residues, the Commission stated that it supports a common approach for the implementation of the directive, but does not give a clear answer on how it intends to do this. Therefore, I ask the Commission to clarify the following:
How will the Commission make sure that the definitions of waste, residues and by-products, as established by the EU Court of Justice, are set out clearly for the Member States in order to ensure a coherent and uniform interpretation and application of EU environmental legislation in general, and the RES Directive in particular, across the EU?
Will the Commission, in its forthcoming work on sustainability criteria for solid and gaseous biomass, address the need to clarify these definitions in relation to the RES Directive?