Seven breakthrough proposals for tackling waste

We have today welcomed a vote by MEPs to adopt seven breakthrough measures for tackling the problem of litter across Europe.

We've played a significant role in the debate at an EU level through our CEO Derek Robertson, who is also President of the Clean Europe Network.

The shared responsibility for litter and prevention of littering were included by Parliament and Commission as part of the revision of the EU’s 2008 Waste Directive, designed to promote a circular economy in Europe.

Following the vote at Strasbourg on 14 March 2017 a series of measures will be adopted by EU member states to share responsibility for reducing litter. The proposals include measures such as agreeing a definition of litter, a proposal for making it an offence to drop litter in all EU countries, the adoption of national litter prevention strategies and strategies for public awareness campaigns on the risks of littering.

Mr Robertson said: “This is a significant step towards achieving a litter free Europe by 2030 in line with Clean Europe Network’s goal.

“Scotland has played a key role in progressing the debate around litter and litter prevention and we fully endorse a joined up approach to tackling the problem. The scourge of littering is in no way isolated to any single EU member state and by implementing these important proposals, voted through by MEPs, and working together with the people of Europe, producers, local authorities and central governments we can make a litter free Europe a reality.”

The seven propositions are:

  • The first ever definition of “litter” at EU level was put forward today by the European Parliament. Agreeing a definition opens the way to clear implementation in the 28 EU member states of shared responsibility for litter and prevention of littering, as proposed by the Commission.
  • A proposal that dropping litter become an offence in all EU countries. Citizens who do not take their responsibility seriously will be breaking the law and subject to fines or other sanctions.
  • Member states must develop a national litter prevention strategy as an integral part of national waste management plans.
  • A proposal to develop a common European methodology to measure litter so that member states can monitor and assess their litter prevention measures.
  • Member states must identify the products that are the main sources of littering in the natural environment and take measures to reduce them.
  • Producers will be required to pay for public information and communication campaigns on prevention of littering: today’s on-the-go lifestyles increase the risk of products being dropped as litter.

The definition of municipal waste has been explicitly extended to cover collected litter: by doing this the Commission and Parliament have clarified the share of responsibility for litter that falls to local authorities covers cleansing activities.

15 March 2017

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