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BBIA calls on EU to strengthen biowaste definition in circular economy package

The Bio-Based and Biodegradable Industries Association (BBIA) has written to the Council of the European Union recommending changes to the Circular Economy Package (CEP) to be made regarding biowaste, organic recycling and green procurement. 

In the letter, addressed to Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the President of the European Council of Environment Ministers during the Netherlands’ EU Presidency, BBIA Managing Director and President of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), David Newman, sets out the changes that the BBIA feels would strengthen the package.

The BBIA welcomes the CEP and regards it as a unique opportunity to drive forward environmental protection in Europe over the next two decades.

However, it suggests that elements of the package could be improved to reinforce its effect.

These include:

  • making it obligatory for certain municipalities to carry out separate collection of biowaste
  • broadening the definition of biowaste to include materials and products that are made to decompose in industrial composting processes. Excluding such materials from the definition hinders the collection and treatment of compostable materials and therefore is a barrier to their production
  • revising the Waste Framework Directive to define organic recycling as composting and anaerobic digestion

imposing Green Public Procurement (GPP) standards and criteria in order to drive product re-design and reduce product impacts on the environment.

The USA Preferred Purchasing Programme for bio-based materials introduced in 2002 has driven an industry now worth $370 (€319bn) billion and over 4 million direct and indirect jobs, at zero cost to the taxpayer and with over 14,000 products registered in the programme.

The European Commission’s Expert Group for Bio-based Products has recommended GPP as a way forward to create markets and develop a European Industrial Bioeconomy.