A member of the European Parliament (MEP) has called for extended producer responsibility for packaging and other material which could contribute to litter waste to be turned from a voluntary into a binding requirement.
The European Commission currently says member states may impose extended producer responsibility through various means, but it stops short of a mandatory obligation for all products.
However Miroslav Poche, a Czech Socialist MEP and the main spokesman of the Commission's influential Industry, Research and Energy Committee (IREC), wants to make this a binding obligation.
And while the Commission has proposed that producers pay for consumer-facing communications campaigns on litter prevention, Poche has argued that producers must pay for prevention – potentially items such as litter bins – and collections.
Poche has also asked that the definition of littering to be clarified in the European Union's (EU) Waste Directive, suggesting that it means “any action or omission by the waste holder, whether wilful or negligent that results in litter”.
The Clean Europe Network, a pan-European anti-litter organisation, said Poche had not defined ‘litter', not least because of the problems translating the word from English, but that his definition of littering was a major step towards creating a legal definition in EU law.
The IREC last week released a draft opinion on the Commission's proposals, published last December, to update the waste directive.
Amendments are to be tabled by 16 June and a final selection of proposed amendments will be voted on by the full committee in September.
The resulting package will be forwarded to the powerful Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee – which has the main responsibility for preparing the overall position of the European Parliament for negotiation with the 28 EU member states and the Commission.