European Commission promises economic incentives to stimulate secondary materials markets


Economic incentives and developed end of waste criteria will be used by the European Commission to improve secondary commodity markets by 2013/14.

It also calls for “widespread separate collection” of materials and “high quality recycling” although doesn’t appear to define these.


In a document published today, Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, the European Commission sets out a series of measures that would seek to introduce a zero waste Europe, develop a functional market for secondary raw materials and high quality recycling.

The European Commission in the document sets out a series of milestones. One of these is: “By 2020, waste is managed as a resource. Waste generated per capita is in absolute decline. Recycling and re-use of waste are economically attractive options for public and private actors due to widespread separate collection and the development of functional markets for secondary raw materials. More materials, including materials having a significant impact on the environment and critical raw materials, are recycled. Waste legislation is fully implemented. Illegal shipments of waste have been eradicated. Energy recovery is limited to non recyclable materials, landfilling is virtually eliminated and high quality recycling is ensured.”

It also makes a series of promises that it will introduce. These are:

  • Stimulate the secondary materials market and demand for recycled materials through economic incentives and developing end-of-waste criteria (in 2013/14)
  • Review existing prevention, re-use, recycling, recovery and landfill diversion targets to move towards an economy based on re-use and recycling, with residual waste close to zero (in 2014)
  • Assess the introduction of minimum recycled material rates, durability and re-usability criteria and extensions of producer responsibility for key products (in 2012)
  • Assess areas where legislation on the various waste streams could be aligned to improve coherence (in 2013/14)
  • Continue working within the EU and with international partners to eradicate illegal waste shipments with a special focus on hazardous waste
  • Ensure that public funding from the EU budget gives priority to activities higher up the waste hierarchy as defined in the Waste Framework Directive (eg priority to recycling plants over waste disposal) (in 2012/13)
  • Facilitate the exchange of best practice on collection and treatment of waste among member states and develop measures to combat more effectively breaches of EU waste rules (in 2013/14).

It also says that EU member states should ensure full implementation of agreed EU waste legislation and directives including minimum targets through national waste prevention and management strategies.

Member states will also be required to establish an appropriate framework and incentives to boost private sector investment into research and innovation for resource efficiency.