Europe urged to rethink the waste hierarchy

Danish economics institute gathers experts to demand more flexibility, less harmonisation

A group of economists brought together by Denmark's Environmental assessment institute (EAI) has called on the EU to rethink its use of the waste hierarchy. The bloc places too much emphasis on recycling, and recycling targets are too harmonised, the institute said following a seminar at its Copenhagen offices.

Complaints about "rigid" application of the waste hierarchy are almost as old as the concept itself. EAI is calling for cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to be used as the key tool to prioritise between waste management options. Four years ago EU employers' association Unice was calling for exactly the same kind of flexibility under a banner of "integrated resource and waste management" (EED 28/03/00).

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