European Commission Unveils Bio-waste Strategy

18 May 2010: The European Commission has published a strategy to improve bio-waste management, with a view to fully realizing its environmental and economic potential.

According to the Commission Communication, bio-waste includes bio-degradable garden, kitchen and food waste from households, restaurants, caterers and retail premises, as well as comparable waste from food processing plants, accounting for 88 million tons of municipal waste each year in Europe. The Commission notes that the main environmental threat from bio-waste is the production of methane, a greenhouse gas (GHG) 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

In the Communication, the Commission recommends realizing bio-waste potential as a renewable source of energy and recycled materials, on the basis of enhanced implementation of existing legislation at the national level with support at the EU level, to contribute to climate change mitigation, soil protection and biodiversity conservation. Priority actions identified by the Commission include rigorous diversion of untreated bio-waste from landfills and its separate collection and biological treatment. To support member States, the EU will provide specific guidance and indicators for bio-waste prevention with possible future binding targets, as well as compost standards and guidelines on the application of life cycle thinking and assessment in the waste sector. [EU Press Release] [Commission Communication on Bio-waste]