A public consultation on the review of the European Commission’s Waste Framework Directive (WFD) and EU food waste reduction targets was launched today (May 24).

The public consultation will be open until August 16, 2022 and will focus on the prevention of waste, separate collection, waste oils and textiles and the application of the ‘waste hierarchy’ and the ‘polluter pays’ principles.

Under the ‘waste hierarchy’ principle, waste management options are ranked according to what is best for the environment. On the scale, the best option is waste prevention, while the last resort is the disposal of waste into landfill.

The ‘polluter pays’ principle is an incentive to avoid environmental damage by holding the polluter responsible. It requires the polluter, often a country, to bear the cost of processing, preventing, controlling and remedying its pollution.

The revision considers reviews of several legislative clauses as well as the policy objectives set out in the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Circular Economy Action Plan.

Speaking about the public consultation, commissioner for the environment, oceans and fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius said he is excited to find out more about the public’s views on making products less wasteful and extending their lifespan.

“To achieve the circular economy and climate neutrality objectives of the European Green Deal, we need to make a stronger effort to avoid generating waste in the first place and to make our waste management sector more performant,” he added.

“This is what we want to do with this revision and are working to set for the first time food waste reduction targets.

Stella Kyriakides, commissioner for health and food safety echoed these statements. She said that food represents an opportunity to curb our waste and this is one of the goals of the WFD:

“We intend to reduce the environmental footprint of food systems and accelerate the EU’s progress towards our global commitment to halve food waste by 2030.

“The challenges posed to our climate and biodiversity, the covid-19 pandemic and ongoing conflicts make the transition to resilient and sustainable food systems that protect both people and the planet even more important,” she concluded.