EU Commission aims to get even more from bio-waste

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18 August 2010

In June, the European Commission laid down the steps required to improve EU bio-waste management and take advantage of the significant environmental and economic benefits that this resource can provide.

The Commission seeks to unlock the potential of bio-waste (biodegradable garden, kitchen and food waste) by effectively reviewing the existing legislation (known as the Thematic Strategy on waste prevention and recycling) and giving Member States the discretion to choose the most suitable options.  Furthermore, the Commission recognises that supporting initiatives at an EU level will be required to maximise the benefits.

The priority of the Commission is to enforce the targets on diverting bio-waste from landfill as well as properly applying the waste hierarchy and introducing separate waste collection systems.  If the steps set out by the Commission are followed, then there would be significant benefits for the environment and the economy.

It has been estimated that 33% of the EU's target for renewable energy use in transport could be met by using biogas made from bio-waste, and that approximately 2% of the overall renewable energy target could be met by turning all bio-waste into energy.  If bio-treatment of waste was maximised it is estimated that around ten million tonnes of CO2 emissions would be avoided in 2020.

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