The European Parliament voted by a narrow margin to strike down an amendment to the Waste Framework Directive that could have had serious consequences for waste management companies. The amendment, added to the original Commission proposal by the Parliament's Environment Committee, was intended to bar companies owning extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes or being members of such systems from working for them as contractors.
The amendment was originally introduced by MEPs Karin Kadenbach from Austria and Jo Leinen from Germany, both social democrats, in the Environment Committee. In Germany, such a restriction would have had a significant impact on waste management companies like Suez, Veolia, Zentek and Alba, which all own EPR systems for packaging waste while at the same time holding operations that perform waste management services under contract to the take-back systems.
Peter Kurth, president of The Federation of the German Waste, Water and Raw Materials Management Industries (BDE) expressed satisfaction following the plenary vote. The amendment would have caused "massive" disruption on the German waste management market, and contrary to the intention of the amendment, would have restricted competition rather than expanded it, he said.
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