In early July, the European Commission presented its proposal for revision of EU policy on waste, which contains new targets for the next decade. As the EU legislation cascade works, according to the decisions taken at the top, the announcement was nervously awaited by many industry players. And that wait lasted longer than expected, because it was delayed several months because of the administrative paralysis which caused the holding of elections to the European Parliament.

In the end, the Commission has presented a legislative package that raises Circular Economy draft changes in waste legislation and other areas, as the overall improvement of resource efficiency and raw materials.

Environmental groups, according to their usual critical line, officially considered the new targets are "insufficient", but privately acknowledge that the Commission has made ​​a number of far reaching proposals and some of them even worthy of the appellation "revolutionary "as the ban on wearing recyclable waste to landfill from 2025.

"The problem, says Daniel Lopez, Ecologists in Action is that these targets will be met; fantastic principles statements are made, but no concrete actions to support them, in Spain, most of the regions are not not prepared to meet current regulations. "

Spain, reported to the European Court of Justice

As if giving the right to environmental expert, a few days after the presentation of the new objectives, the Commission announced that Spain has denounced before the Court of Justice by the constant breach of EU rules on landfills.

According to Directive 1999/31 / EC all operating landfills must comply with its provisions from July 16, 2009, but today there are still 28 landfills that do not meet three other pending renewal to meet.

These illegal landfills, according to the Reasoned Opinion of the Commission, which has had access elEconomista Water and Environment, do not affect the hazardous waste; concerns only non-hazardous waste receivers and reception of inert waste.

The vast majority of illegal landfills are in the autonomous community of Andalusia-the province of Jaén is the black spot off the map, but there are also in the Canary Islands, Murcia, Basque Country, Aragon, Galicia, Catalonia and Cantabria.

Until the trial fails and the Court will take several years-half of Spaniards processes stands at 31 months of document exchange and quiet work of state attorneys. Maybe the record, if Spain amends the situation does not lead to a multi-million financial penalty, but what is certain is that there will have to act swiftly.

Spain already knows a lot of disciplinary proceedings caused by incorrectly applying the European single market rules: we have 60 open, most taxation and environment, exactly twice the EU average, located in 30 cases.

Nor is that we give great hurry to do what is required by justice: the period in which the Spanish governments have been fulfilling the Court's judgments is also higher than the average of the other European partners: 19.4 months versus 18, 2 months.

Responsibility of the autonomous communities

Referring to the arrival of disciplinary proceedings to the courts, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama) has thrown balls out to remember that only has basic skills in the field and management of landfills in the hands of the autonomous communities.

But regardless of the goal where the ball should go, the truth is that Spain, according to Eurostat, besides not having landfills rule five years after the deadline, sends 63 percent of all waste generated, almost double the EU average, located at 34 percent.

Thus, for the country to reach the newly raised by the Commission commitments a major change must occur; only to meet the objectives currently in place should reduce discharges in 20 additional percentage points, which are reminding all senior Magrama every time they have to talk in public about waste treatment.

An example of this type of intervention, always politically exquisite, which usually provides the general director of Quality and Environmental Assessment and Natural Environment of Magrama, Guillermina Yanguas. Before the arrival of the file to Spain was known to the Court, stated that "we are far from complying, but in a good way"; yes, recognized that we must make an effort "because we are going to continue tightening the nuts."

After the jump news Yanguas announced that Magrama currently working on a waste strategy with three objectives: to encourage the collection of the organic fraction, enhance environmental taxation in order to make it more expensive to take the trash to the dump, and improve the way it collects and separates, for which contacts with the Integrated Management Systems, as ECOEMBES remain.

Al Magrama in any case, leaving aside the purely environmental issues related to waste, not lacking to improve economic reasons: according to his calculations, achieving existing targets for 2020 would generate 55,000 new jobs, adding to a mass current employment of around 125,000.

Reform residue three EU directives

The legislative package proposed by the Commission affects three directives: Directive 2008/98 / EC of waste; the aforementioned Directive 1999/31 / EC of waste disposal; and Directive 94/62 / EC on packaging and packaging waste. Have also been raised with other initiatives on the promotion of green jobs, improving the use of resources or sustainable building.

At present the EU recycles 42 percent of the weight of the waste, has a target of 50 percent by 2020 and the European Commission proposed to increase to 70 percent by 2030 when it arrives also wants to prohibit the deposition landfill in 2025 -plastic recoverable waste, paper, metals, glass and Organic Wastes waste and reducing food waste by 30 percent and implement other measures such as easing the administrative barriers that hinder SMEs or harmonize poor methodology for collecting statistics of Member States: there are up to four systems that show large differences.

The main problems in Spain are in household waste, now do not reach the 30 percent and should reach 50 percent by 2020, and the construction and demolition waste, which rondamos 45 percent and should reach 70 percent. The Statewide Waste Prevention Plan 2014-2020, on the other hand, includes measures to reduce by 10 percent by 2020 waste generated in 2010.

For Carlos Martinez Holgado, Honorary President of the Foundation for Circular Economy, "a little more than five years we all know that we are far, but all working, goal kicking against it, can compete to get to get it. Necessary to change language, the next Integrated Waste Plan should remove the frontispiece of waste and put it in the resources, because it is harnessing the resources. "

Martinez hits full Holgado, because according to Commission data, in the EU, improving the use of resources by 30 percent-in the last decade, between 2000 and 2011, he won a remarkable 20 percent of advance-it would mean that in 2030 there are two million new jobs, an increase in GDP of 1 percent, a savings of 600,000 million euros-about 8 percent of the income of companies, and a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases 2 to 4 percent.

The objectives are achievable for packaging

Yanguas also announced that legislation could be revised packaging, but in the next term, since it is an area in which Spain can take heart, thanks to the work of integrated management systems, as ECOEMBES or Ecovidrio.

Oscar Martin, chief of the first of the two aforementioned systems adviser, believes the new target of 80 percent by 2030 for containers of competence may be met even 10 years earlier, in 2020: "But it is a huge challenge that requires effort ? of all citizens, businesses, media, educators, we can not absolutely despise any fraction of material that is capable of recyclability; trifles are we going to do to pass the test. "

Of the same opinion is Carlos Reinoso, director general of the Association of Pulp and Paper (Aspapel): "We started to be asymptotic levels, it is increasingly difficult to recover the role that existing channels escapes, now have to look at the labels of soda bottles, for example. "

And, indeed, the recoveries of paper are already among the highest in Europe. Precisely why Reinoso dare not say whether their partners will be able to meet the new target of 90 percent by 2030: "There is potential in the municipal area but the rest is almost 100 percent." As in many other cases, success or failure is determined by the behavior of consumers.

José Manuel Núñez-Lagos, CEO of Ecovidrio, however, believes that, although they have reached good levels and meet the existing targets, "you can do more." 2020 considered that could reach over 75 percent longer term levels required levels by 2030 would total course is, we should increase the number of containers, ensure legal certainty, establish incentives?

Plastic waste, in turn, create problems in the mechanical recycling, for different products and types of plastics that are treated as comments Teresa Martinez, CEO of Cicloplast. With the current growth rate of 2 percent in 2020 and should reach 40 percent, but in the longer term would be necessary further improvements, including those aimed to establish a canon of discharge to be deterrent, encourage energy recovery or bet more strongly in R & D for new products in the market place.

As for metals, Javier Alvarez, CEO of Ecoacero states that are also found in steel-the asymptotic levels in 90.5 per cent and aluminum 84 per cent and the problems are in the light elements, from households, which account for just 2 percent of all recycled metal. His biggest concern is the situation of the domestic steel park, very affected by the crisis, which could lead to export the steel recovered in Spain.

Finally, the wood far exceeds the targets, which also happens in the rest of Europe, although decreasing with the crisis, remember Trénor Fernando, director of the Spanish Federation of Wooden Containers and Components (Fedemco) . According to their estimates, could be reached in 2020 a level of 70 percent, on track to achieve the goal of 2030 This relies on the recovery of consumption and export, and in improving the collection, eg logistics platforms.

The example in Estonia: 70% to 5% of discharge in seven years

Spain should reduce the amount of waste to landfill forwards, like many other EU countries. To everyone, Estonia, the most developed of the three Baltic republics, said the way to do them in a few years: convert poured into an option to get rid of less profitable than other existing waste.

Applying the recipe, Estonia has decreased its discharge rate from the 75 percent it had in 2006 to less than 5 percent last year. The key is in the statistical change that have experienced strong growth rates of discharge, from eight euros per tonne in 2001 to 50 today.

The country has successfully implemented other measures, such systems producer responsibility and deposit and return. The rate hike is not over She expected to return to until 60 or 75 euros the year Viennese, but has already given economic attractiveness to recycling, energy recovery and treatment of organic waste, and has attracted a strong infrastructure investment, to the point that the country can import and process waste.

In Catalonia Spain only has a canon of discharge, located between 12.4 and 21.6 per tonne, and another on incineration, between 5.7 and 16.5 euros.