Progress and Lessons Learned within the EU4Environment Programme
Within the European Week for Waste Reduction, EU4Environment organised an online webinar “Towards Waste Reduction in the Eastern Partner Countries” on 25 November 2021.
The European Week for Waste Reduction creates an opportunity to engage stakeholders and citizens into common action. This year it was dedicated to the ‘circular economy’, which is at the core of the European Green Deal, the new growth strategy of the European Union.
The EU4Environment event aimed to show how the Programme contributes to the ambition for a waste reduction by different actors in the Eastern Partner countries. It:
- Reviewed progress in tackling waste issues in the EaP countries;
- Demonstrated the success stories and best practices to decrease waste; and
- Provided better understanding of improved waste prevention and management focusing on business benefits.
The event gathered the representatives of the Ministries of Environment and of Economies in the Eastern Partner countries, relevant stakeholders, representatives of the civil society, academic community and business. The representatives of the European Commission, EU Delegations also joined the meeting.
The Eastern Partner (EaP) countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine) have made efforts to strengthen waste management, including better collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of waste, supported by the monitoring and regulation of the waste management processes. The EaP countries started to harmonise their waste legislation with that in the European Union, and part of this transformation is the introduction of Extender Producer Responsibility (EPR) for various waste streams. Waste management practices are increasingly supported by the promotion of circular economy, i.e. a new way of creating value, and ultimately prosperity, through extending product lifespan and relocating waste from the end of the supply chain to the beginning – in effect, using resources more efficiently by using them more than once.
Despite the governments’ efforts waste management still remains a challenge. The key issues include: overly general and not ambitious waste management policies, under-developed legal frameworks; inadequate monitoring and insufficient data, low-priced, and in many cases uncontrolled, landfilling; insufficient economic instruments to stimulate waste reduction and better management (including recycling), and lack of investments in waste and recycling infrastructure.
The EU-funded EU4Environment Programme contributes to the development of comprehensive sustainable waste management policies and policy instruments in the EaP countries, which also include waste prevention and circular economy practices. EU4Environment provides technical assistance to partner countries in the establishment of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes for the packaging waste streams, promotion and implementation of Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) methodology for individual enterprises and their groups (through RECP Clubs, Eco-Industrial Parks and Industrial Waste Mapping), as part of Circular Economy. This is done through the provision of advisory services and capacity development and trainings to policy makers, manufacturing SMEs, procurement practitioners, businesses, as well as Environmental Citizen’s Organisations (ECOs) and other stakeholders.