Tory MEP, Caroline Jackson is proposing more incineration of waste rather than more recycling as the answer to the ever growing refuse mountain.
EU TO VOTE TUESDAY 13th FEBRUARY.
European Waste Vote: Conservative MEP pushes for incineration
Friday 9 February
European Waste Vote: Conservative MEP pushes for incineration
On Tuesday 13th February, the European Parliament will vote in Strasbourg onthe revision of the Waste Framework Directive. This directive is the umbrella law for all EU waste legislation. Positive improvements to the directive to boost recycling and waste prevention could hugely improve Europe's resource efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Caroline Jackson, the Conservative MEP leading the debate, is pushing for more promotion of incineration and has refused to table any amendments calling for EU wide recycling targets. Mrs Jackson's position is at odds with Peter Ainsworth, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who is on record as saying a major expansion of incineration plants could not be justified without further research into recycling .
Michael Warhurst, Waste and Resources Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said:
"We are very disappointed that Mrs Jackson is trying to promote incineration. With their vote, MEPs have a key opportunity to spur increased recycling across the EU, which - unlike incineration - would minimise greenhouse gas emissions and make efficient use of resources. We should be aiming to burn or bury nothing that could be re-used, recycled or composted."
A large part of waste policy in European Union (EU) Member States is defined at European level. One of the key pieces of EU legislation, the Waste Framework Directive, is currently being reviewed and amended.
The European Commission first released its proposal for a revised Waste Framework Directive in 2005 which, it claimed, were intended to prevent waste and move Europe towards being a `recycling society'. However the proposals did little concrete to increase recycling - member states were left to produce waste prevention plans with no minimum objectives, and it was suggested that incineration should be promoted by re-branding incinerators as `recovery operations' rather than disposal operations, as they are at the moment.
The European Parliament's Environment Committee improved on the European Commission's proposal in November 2006 by voting to set an EU target for waste prevention which required that the waste produced by the EU should be stabilised in the short term (2012) and targets set for reducing the amount of waste produced in the medium term (2020). Environment Committee MEPs also voted against re-branding incineration as recovery.' Amendments to boost recycling were narrowly defeated.
MEPs will now vote on the Environment Committees amendments in Strasbourg on 13 February. Friends of the Earth and European Environmental Bureau (EEB) want the MEPs to vote for:
Substantive measures to increase recycling: in particular an EU-wide recycling target of 50 percent of municipal (household) waste and 70 percent of other waste by 2020, and a phase-out of the incineration or landfill of any waste that can be reused, recycled or composted;
A minimum EU objective for waste prevention - stabilising waste production in Europe by 2012, implementing waste reduction targets for 2020, plus action to support National Governments in making the best use of prevention programmes;
A requirement for municipal waste incinerators to be as efficient as possible, and for waste incinerators to remain as disposal operations - not be reclassified as recovery as the Commission has suggested;
A commitment to new laws to assist recycling, including a directive on composting bio waste.
The final stages of this process will be the agreement of the member states position at a meeting of Environment Ministers on June 28 2007. Any disagreements between the European Parliament and the EU Member States will be resolved in a second vote of the Parliament in late 2007/first half of 2008. Mid-late 2008: The new Directive will be finalised once the European Parliament and EU Member States agree (which is likely to be mid - late 2008). It will then be translated into national law in all 27 EU Member States.
Why recycling should be promoted over incineration
RESOURCE EFFICIENCY: Incineration wastes valuable resources such as metals, plastics, wood or biodegradable resources that could otherwise be salvaged through recycling. Every ton of incinerated materials has to be extracted and processed again, increasing environmental damage and dependency of the EU economy on expensive imports. More energy is saved through recycling than is extracted by burning most wastes.
CLIMATE CHANGE: Incineration produces greenhouse gas emissions - a typical incinerator converting waste to electricity produces around 33% more fossil-fuel derived carbon dioxide than a gas fired power station . In contrast, recycling saves greenhouse emissions by avoiding the need to extract and process primary resources. A recent UK government-funded study concludes that "UK recycling currently saves between 10-15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases per year compared to other waste management options."
HIGH RECYCLING RATES ARE POSSIBLE: Belgium and Austria are already recycling more than 50% of their municipal waste, while a number of member states still recycle less than 10%. This shows the need to set high EU-wide recycling targets, so that the poor performers catch up.
JOBS: Recycling creates jobs. Recycling 10 000 tonnes of waste creates up to 250 jobs compared with 20 to 40 jobs needed if the waste is incinerated and about 10 for landfill. 
INCINERATION AS A BARRIER: The existence of incinerators discourages waste prevention and recycling - as incinerators are inflexible in terms of the quantities needed to operate them, authorities or waste companies are then under pressure to keep filling them with rubbish for years into the future to make sure they operate properly and get they their money back from building them in the first place.
WASTE TRANSPORT: Reclassification of incinerators as 'recovery' could promote export of waste from countries with strict, costly facilities like Germany to those with cheaper ones, like France, Poland and the Czech Republic. This unacceptable transport of waste will also result in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
SOUND USE OF EU FUNDS: In central and eastern Europe, the reclassification of incinerators could have particularly adverse effects. It could divert the use of millions of Euros from the EU structural and cohesion funds from sorting and recycling schemes into building new incinerators.
Spokespeople from Friends of the Earth and EEB will be available for interview on the issue of waste in Strasbourg next week. A 40 m banner with the message `Stop the Waste: Vote recycling not incineration!' displayed outside the European Parliament will provide a visual backdrop for TV interviews. Interviews will be available in French, English, German, Czech, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. (See contacts below to pre-arrange an interview.) The banner will be in place and interviews will be available from midday on Monday 12th February until the morning of Thursday 15th February.
Prior to the vote, Friends of the Earth and EEB will deliver the same message - `Stop the Waste: Vote recycling not incineration!' - directly to MEPs in Valentine's cards.
For more information, please contact:
Friends of the Earth Press Office
0207 566 1664 / email@example.com
Rosemary Hall, Communications Officer at Friends of the Earth Europe:
firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 25 42 6105, +32 485 930515
Melissa Shinn/Doreen Fedrigo - EEB Waste Policy Officer: email@example.com, + 32 494 418 376
Dr A. Michael Warhurst - Senior Campaigner, Waste & Resources, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland: firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 7841 503 474
Martin Konecny - Waste Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe/CEE Bankwatch:
email@example.com, +32 2 5420185, +32 484601283
Stopping the Waste policy briefing: www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/stopping_the_waste.pdf
EEB - www.eeb.org/activities/waste
Friends of the Earth Europe - www.foeeurope.org/activities/waste_management
Friends of the Earth
26-28 Underwood St.
Tel: 020 7490 1555
Fax: 020 7490 0881