Circular economy

Circular economy: a flood of proposals for the Italian Senate

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Enthusiastic response of associations and enterprises to public consultations. Requests for improvements of the European Package.

Italy calls, circular economy answers. Over 50 proposals were delivered to the Environmental Commission of the Senate in the frame of the public consultations concerning the European Package on circular economy, presented by the European Commission on December 2nd 2015. A unanimous choir of universities, study centres, consortia, sector federations, consumer associations and private enterprises: everyone agrees that the new norms can and must be improved.

The proposals formulated so far concern each of the five acts composing the measure package: the Action Plan, the directives on Waste Framework, Landfilling and Packaging Waste, and the Directive on end-of-life vehicles, on waste batteries and accumulators, and on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

In short, the proposals insist on the following problems: insufficient attention to the issue of waste sorting, which is not made obligatory; need for more clarity in definitions, in particular for what concerns “urban waste”, “by-products” and “end of waste”; need for more clarity about the role of the operators involved in the circular economy, in particular concerning the extended responsibility of manufacturers and management costs.

A generally favourable opinion on the new recycling targets was expressed, but in addition to that a proposal was advanced to make waste sorting obligatory for organic waste, so as to reach a minimum recycling rate of 75% by 2025 and 85% by 2030. The proposals collected in the consultations will be merged into a resolution which will be submitted first to the Environmental Commission of the Italian Senate and then to the European Commission. The resolution will serve as guideline for the government during the negotiations in the EU Council.

Not only did the 55 contributors express an opinion on the future European norms, they also criticized several aspects of the current Italian laws on these matters, claiming that across the years they have become exaggerated, chaotic and incomplete, leading for example to the failure of Sistri, the automated waste traceability system.

Other critical points are the low clarity of the normative frame and the WEEE management system, which is obstructed by complex authorization processes and by the absence of implementing decrees and explicative circulars.

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