‘Schengen’ area for trade of recycling dropped


The European Parliament’s environment committee has backed a proposed resource efficiency roadmap for Europe, but ended the idea of a ‘Schengen’ trading area for material.

At a meeting of the European Parliament’s environment committee last week, the non-binding report Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe was adopted with 48 votes in favour, three against and five abstentions.


Gerban-Jan Gerbrandy, the Dutch Liberal MEP who drafted the report, was forced to compromise on some aspects of his plans, with the idea of a ‘Schengen’ area for waste dropped that would have allowed free trade of waste within the EU.

It had also been proposed that there would be reduced VAT rates on the trade of secondary materials, but MEPs asked that this only would apply “in areas where there is a market failure or the promotion of innovative collection and sorting technologies”.

However, it has been agreed that there should be an aim to ban landfill with calls on the European Commission to make proposals on this by the end of 2014. It also calls for the full implementation of existing EU waste legislation and suggests 2020 recycling targets set in the Waste Framework Directive should be revised. The report also wants to see the incineration of waste that could be recycled or composted ended by the end of the decade.

Rapporteur Gerban-Jan Gerbrandy said: “Europe is addicted to cheap resources and rising prices are the biggest threat to our industry. Instead of paying record prices for resources we should recycle and recover our valuable waste.

“Improving resource efficiency is a golden opportunity and we simply cannot afford to take twenty years for the transformation towards a sustainable economy. Competitive global markets and the spectacular rise of emerging economies do not give is this much time.”

The report is due to be put to a vote in the European Parliament’s 21-24 May plenary session.