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Prevention and recycling targets for waste achievable in EU legislation - de Brún MEP

7 April, 2008

Speaking ahead of the vote in the European Parliament Environment Committee Bairbre de Brún MEP has said that tomorrow's vote in the EU Environment Committee is crucial in introducing recycling targets introduced for the time in EU legislation.

Ms de Brún said:

"I have been working for some years now with fellow MEPs to see prevention and recycling targets introduced for the time in EU legislation. Tomorrow's vote in the Environment committee will be crucial in achieving an emphasis on preventing, minimising and re-using or recycling waste, which is something we have promoted for so long. At present it is up to local and national authorities to choose whether or not to give priority to prevention, re-use or recycling.

"If the Committee backs amendments submitted by myself and other MEPs it could also introduce the establishment of a hierarchy in the treatment of waste for the first time in a piece of EU legislation. The 'hierarchy' lays down an order of preference for waste operations: re-use; recycling; other recovery operations; and, as a last resort, safe and environmentally sound disposal, making it clear that disposal is the least environmentally friendly option.

"At present EU regulations oblige local and national authorities to avoid sending waste to landfill but there are no similar regulations obliging them to recycle. In the absence of such targets there is a danger that many will opt for mass burn incineration and thwart the EU's aim to become a recycling society.

"I will also oppose in the vote tomorrow any attempt to re-classify incineration as recovery rather than disposal in a way that would help further promote the incineration option and lead to less recycling and less emphasis on preventing waste in the first place" ENDS

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