Luxembourg: top at recycling but big polluter
(ADW) A project to transpose the EU directive on waste management was approved Wednesday in the Luxembourg parliament. While the bill itself has not been a problem, the “paying polluter” principle did cause a stir during the discussions.
With 53 voting yes, and 5 no votes, the bill passed with ease. Waste management will now be better regulated, so that by 2020, EU member states should be recycling 50% of their household waste and 70% of construction and demolition waste.
Luxembourg is a bit of a paradox when in comes to recycling: While it is already in the “top class” in Europe with a recycling rate of around 42%, this is somewhat counter-acted by the amount of waste produced. The country is 40% above the European average with 700 kg of rubbish produced per person each year.
"We are on track, but we must make more of an effort," said Marcel Oberweis (CSV), commentator of the proposed bill in Luxembourg. "If we want to reduce our waste, it is also a requirement for producers to make an effort," added Eugene Berger (DP), "buying a packet of biscuits in large amounts of packaging, does not promote waste reduction."
"We have little control over the producers, but we have the power to influence consumer behavior," adds Marco Schank, Minister for Sustainable Development.
Polluter pays principle, since 1994 in Luxembourg
"The polluter pays principle is not a bad thing, but it can have adverse consequences," said Eugene Berger, "street litter can appear everywhere and waste can pile up along roadsides.”
Roger Negri (LSAP) and Camille Gira (Déi Gréng) replied that the polluter pays principle was already introduced as legislation in 1994 and had not been a problem when it was introduced.
According to Gast Gibéryen (ADR) and Serge Urbany (Déi Lénk), this principle would result in higher taxes and a lack of clarity regarding the definition of a polluter. "Several communes already apply this principle and this has not resulted in any increase in prices," said Marco Schank. He concluded by warning, "prices will rise automatically for those who do not respect this principle."