Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Waste management and circular economy


From waste collection and transport to incineration and recycling, towns and cities are key players of waste management at the local level. They have many responsibilities and various areas of work, such as implementing prevention measures in which other local players and citizens are involved.

EU waste legislation is very detailed and has a direct impact on towns, cities and regions. It sets waste management priorities (prevention, reuse, recycling, etc) and specific targets that have to be met, such as for municipal waste.

Moreover, waste management is part of the transition towards a circular economy, which was launched by the European Commission in 2015. The Action Plan for a Circular Economy sets measures covering products’ entire life cycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the secondary materials market.

Expert group on waste

Our expert group assesses European waste policies and revises quantified targets, such as municipal recycling.
Our goals:
  • Promote the perspective of local and regional governments on the reform of waste legislation
  • Contribute the European Commission’s thought processes on the move towards a circular economy: improve the use of natural resources, the implementation of waste legislation and its possible revisions
  • Raise legislators’ awareness of measures to be taken at the beginning of a product’s life cycle, particularly at the manufacturing stage (eco-design, packaging standards, preventative measures on waste, etc)
  • To present tangible proposals to reinforce the principle of extended producer responsibility. This principle lays out the responsibility of the producer concerning the management of manufactured products it has put on the market. It is of particular relevance at the end of the product’s life cycle, when the product is ready to be thrown away.

CEMR spokespersons for environment

Councillor of Lincolnshire (United Kingdom), Marianne Overton
Chairperson of Hämeenlinna City Board (Finland), Sari Rautio

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