Member States to start measuring re-use

37J April 2021 | News

Under the EU Waste Framework Directive, Member States must monitor and assess the implementation of waste prevention measures using appropriate qualitative or quantitative measures[1]. As part of this process and following lengthy negotiations, Member States agreed in December 2020 to use a methodology to monitor re-use activities based on an implementing decision laying down a common methodology and a format for reporting on re-use. Member States will have to conduct an annual survey on qualitative data and a tri-annual survey on quantitative data. Qualitative reporting will include:

  • Logistical measures aimed at supporting re-use operations
  • Economic and fiscal measures, including public procurement
  • Educational measures, including information and awareness-raising campaigns
  • Other measures such as support to or establishment of accredited repair and re-use centres and networks
  • Actions taken to monitor and assess re-use through qualitative or quantitative indicators and targets

Mandatory quantitative reporting will include tonnage of items re-used for five categories of products: textiles, electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), furniture, construction material and products, and other products for which measures were adopted. It is also noted that Member States can report data separately for the different channels through which the re-used products changed ownership (physical shops, online platforms, private gifts, etc.), although this remains voluntary.

While agreement on monitoring re-use rates is a step forward in motivating action on product life extension, RREUSE is underwhelmed by certain aspects of the new measurement provisions.

While the first reporting period for the survey on quantitative data is the full year 2021, meaning the first results will be accessible mid-2023, RREUSE is dismayed by the low frequency of the following surveys – only once every three years. Fortunately, the results of the first survey on quantitative data will be accessible in time to help the Commission assess the feasibility of developing re-use targets at EU level by 2025, a requirement in the Waste Framework Directive.

<p”>RREUSE also has reservations regarding the term ‘accredited repair and re-use centres’, notably regarding any administrative burden that could be associated with accreditation systems being put in place. As suggested in this paper, the use of the term ‘approved re-use centres’ would be more appropriate to define the operators who will provide their data.</p”>

Action on re-use at national level needs impetus from the EU if Europe is serious about ensuring a job-rich and green recovery. While this methodology is a step forward, it falls short in providing a significant political boost to the sector. Currently, only four Member States are implementing re-use or preparing for re-use targets or are in the process of developing them: Belgium (in Flanders and Wallonia), Spain, Sweden[2] and France[3]. RREUSE is currently working on defining which types of targets and indicators would be the most useful for both re-use and preparation for re-use activities and will publish further views on the subject in the near future.

[1] Article 9.4 and 9.7 of the Waste Framework Directive

[2] European Environmental Agency (2017), Waste prevention in Europe — policies, status and trends in reuse in 2017, – Available here, p14

[3] RREUSE (2019), France to create a Solidarity Re-use Fund (and other re-use friendly measures)! – Available here

For more information please contact Mathieu Rama, Senior Policy Officer – ,

Picture credit © De Kringwinkel – Kioni Papadopoulos & Boaz Timmermans