The R4R conference held on 17 September 2014 in Brussels contributed to the debate on waste management targets currently under revision by giving a local and regional perspective to the discussion. The conference also debated some key economic instruments helping to improve waste prevention and recycling performances, in particular “pay as you throw” (PAYT).
Questions focused in particular on the impact of EU waste targets for European regions, on progress monitoring and on the opportunity to have differentiated targets between regions or in time.
Large differences exist between territories, not only among Member States, but also between cities and regions within the same country. ACR+ has been working extensively on this issue within its Observatory of municipal waste performances and its brand-new report “The EU capital cities waste performance benchmark”. What is clear is that clear guidance at European level regarding the definition of municipal waste and how to monitor it is needed, and in response to this the European Commission is working on policy reforms setting bold targets for recycling, as it has been said in a previous report.
The R4R projectdeveloped a methodology highlighting waste quantities that are really aimed at being sent to recycling thus providing a more accurate basis for comparison between European territories. Achieving ambitious waste targets is possible. The exchange of good practices between cities and regions with similar characteristics and constraints can help local and regional authorities to improve their waste and resources management performances and reach the targets.