Will the new EU framework contribute to make waste management shift toward more circular approaches? This is what various players of the waste and recycling value-chain discussed about during the “Waste Management in the Circular Economy 2020” conference organised by European Academy in Berlin on 27 February 2020, attended by ACR+ as an expert speaker. Representatives from the EU Commission, EPR systems, the recycling industry, and waste management companies all shared their views on the upcoming opportunities and challenges linked to the implementation of the new European regulation and Green Deal.

Experts agreed on the difficulties linked with the lack of harmonisation of end-of-waste criteria, the discrepancies in the implementation of EPR systems, or the inconsistency of data reporting. They also pointed out that this shift is a necessity to tackle the most concerning environmental challenges for the following year such as climate change or the presence of microplastic in the environment, and to address the raising demand for more sustainability from European citizens and consumers. Several solutions were promoted by the different speakers, among which: market and fiscal-based instruments, binding targets on recycled-content, the creation of innovative, service-based business models, and in general an increasing consistency and dialogue among the different players of the product and recycling value chain. This would enable improved design for re-use and recycling, more adequate EPR fees, and a better engagement of consumers in take-back systems.

ACR+ shared the perspective of municipal waste collection system based on the work of the H2020 COLLECTORS project. The project acknowledges the fact that current waste collection systems could be better aligned with the recycling’s requirements, by focusing more on quality. COLLECTORS shows that improving waste collection can be achieved while keeping waste fees steady and lead to very positive environmental outcomes. ACR+ also called for a shift from weight-based toward more environmental-based performance indicators, so that waste management priorities can be better aligned with the current environmental challenges. This is the point of ACR+’ new “More Circularity, Less Carbon” campaign aiming to help its members to reduce their carbon footprint linked with resource management.

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