Dutch Liberal MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy has proposed a ‘Schengen area’ for waste that would allow material to be traded more freely between member states.
To do this, he is drafting a resolution on resource-efficiency for the European Parliament as he is rapporteur on the topic.
In his resolution, he is calling for a major overhaul of the secondary material markets for materials such as plastics, metals or paper.
But he says the maze of waste regulations currently in force across 27 EU countries is a huge obstacle for trade in recycled goods.
In an interview with the EurActive website, Gerbrandy said: “At the moment there are so many national, regional and even local laws and rules that it’s impossible for companies to transport their very valuable waste. If you want to recycle certain elements, then you need economies of scale.”
He has also suggested lowering the value-added tax for secondary materials, which he would like to see in place by 2013 together with an amendment of the end of waste criteria that would turn recycled products into non-waste items, allowing them to be traded freely within the EU.
Gerbrandy added: “I’m focusing on getting much faster towards a circular economy that has much more re-use and recycling of materials. These are the main elements of my report.”