More than 20 years of “waste policy”, marked by continuing prospective debates at theAssises des Déchets...

 

In your analysis, what is the main progress booked during this time period?

The institutional, political, economic and technical situation has profoundly changed. At the time, it seemed incongruous to engage the responsibility of citizens, local authorities, distributors and companies, and it was unimaginable to make the different players collaborate in a partnership. Organizing important waste recycling, creating opportunities for products from separate waste collection, renew collecting and treatment techniques, invent sorting systems, mobilize citizens: these are the challenges that have been taken up by the local authorities. Finally, the modernization of treatment equipment and the battle against unauthorized dumping are equally important to preserve the environment.

 

And what are the main fields of progress that remain to be implemented?

An objective evaluation of the policy conducted over the last 20 years is indispensable. The multiplication of EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) requires the introduction of further coordination. Waste market development for recycling and the substantial increase of revenues created by the sale of materials also impose a reflection on this desirable and possible economic model.

The resurgence of unauthorized waste dumps preoccupies the politicians, in particular the mayors. So it is necessary to determine people’s motivations. We may have assigned too much importance to technical issues at the expense of people behaviour and their evolution. And finally, I particularly pay attention to renewing partnership between all the players and to restoring confidence.

 

Planning and prevention have become the “keywords” of waste policy. How do you consider their relevance and the reality of actions induced?

I deplore an ever increasing temptation to change from a culture of conciliation and consensus towards a culture of authoritarian planning. Moreover, the tendency to plan on ever increasing territories may well lead to a loss of insight in field reality and material constraints. Planning without conciliation with collectivities that implement measures has a fair chance to remain without effect.

Prevention is in the same scope of the fight against wastage as is energy control. So it requires an effort of sensitization on a national scale. However, it cannot constitute the only component of a national waste policy management.

 

According to you, what are the main “territorial waste” concerns today, and in particular for councils: at present, and for the years to come?

Today, the main “territorial waste” concerns are cost control, the consequences of incentive pricing implementation, the fragmentation of collected deposits and the future of collective equipment. The increasingly fragmented waste flow separation according to their nature leads to a mechanical cost increase. In the meantime, recyclable waste likely to allow generating revenues increasingly escape from the local and regional authorities, in particular in the so-called operational EPR’s. Collectivities are thus confronted with a double movement: a more and more precocious separation of flows which drives the cost up and the disappearance of part of the profitable deposits, which leaves them with waste that is increasingly expensive to treat.

 

AMF website: www.amf.asso.fr

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