The resolution, to which members of the WOW! project team actively participated, is in line with the newly adopted NSC North Sea Region 2030 Strategy on preventing waste ending up in our oceans and the need for circularity as well as better recycling and reuse of waste.
As WOW! we are proud that the NSC is recognizing the potential of resources from sewage. That motivates us even more to continue our research and contribute to a more circular economy.
The North Sea Commission recognizes the need:
- to tap into the potential of recovered resources from sewage to accelerate circularity in Europe
- to establish a level playing field in the EU for sewage treatment plants, technology providers and (future) customers of recovered resources
- to establish a uniform definition in the rules for the quality of the end product instead of restrictions based on the sources
- to draw up a cross-border acceptance standard (within the EU), and
- to set a maximum period for the assessment of end-of-waste applications.
The North Sea Commission calls for action:
- To change the definition of “waste” in a way that doesn’t automatically imply all materials are classified as waste after being used once. Waste valorisation is key -define waste with new technologies and new products in mind, without making concessions to food safety and the environment.
- To use the review of the Urban Waste Water Regulation and the Sludge Regulation to make the recovery and reuse of resources from sewage attractive, for example by fiscal measures or by making a certain percentage of recovered resources mandatory.
- To harmonize legislation:
- The end-of-waste process should be transparent and have clear deadlines.
- National governments should be provided with a framework to assess the risks of recovered products.
- The end-of-waste judgement is a right, not a favour. The necessity of a clear (end-of-waste) status demands a clear, fast and thoughtful management of applications.
- Expand the legal obligations for the collection, recycling and use of recovered raw materials, whereby a water utility and a manufacturer takes responsibility.
The NSC now hopes for constructive discussions on how to improve EU regulations to better promote innovations in circular economy businesses. WOW! is working on that!
Read the NSC Resolution on Circular Economy: Reuse of resources from sewage here.