Short interview: Mr. Peter Hodecek, representative of European Federation representing the European waste management industry

The transposition and implementation of the whole European Environmental Aquis into national Serbian Law will become one of the biggest challenges for the Serbian Administration.

The first European Western Balkans interview with experts to the European Commission and to the European Parliament. Mr. Peter Hodecek representative of European Federation representing the European waste management industry. Mr. Hodecek was in charge of different International Waste Management and Recycling Enterprises since 1990. Mr. Hodecek has work experiences in different countries, especially in CEE. Currently he is in charge of Scholz Austria GmbH and Member of the Executive Board. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna and a MBA from the Joseph Schumpeter Institute School of Applied Studies, Wels. He chairs the working group “Waste Management Legislation” at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Hodecek has a lecturate at the Institute for Sustainable Waste Management and Technology at the Montanuniversitätin Leoben as well as at the University of Applied Science in Vienna. 

European Western Balkans: Tell us something more about FEAD and organization that are your members?

Peter HodecekMr. Peter Hodecek:  FEAD is the European Federation representing the European waste management industry. FEAD’s members are national waste management associations covering 18 EU Member States plus Norway and Serbia. They have an approximate 60% share in the household waste market and handle more than 75% of industrial and commercial waste in Europe. Their combined annual turnover is approximately € 75 billion.

FEAD represents about 3,000 companies with activities in all forms of waste management. These companies employ over 320,000 people who operate around 2,400 recycling and sorting centers, 1,100 composting sites, 260 waste-to-energy plants and 900 controlled landfills.

They play an important role in the determination of the best environmental option for waste management problems.

EWB: Waste Industries Association of Serbia “Hrabričistač” now as part of FEAD is going to work very intensive to create a European recycling society that could stimulate the private sector, to enhance the expertise, resources and competitiveness in the business environment. How useful is this membership for Serbia?

PH: The membership of Serbia “Hrabri čistač” is very useful especially for the private waste management sector.The overall aims of the European Union’s circular economy are to achieve economic and environmental sustainability for Europe. Europe as a whole has made substantial progress in reducing the worst methods of waste management, such as landfill and is going to promote better methods such as recycling.Turning waste into a resource is therefore an important part of “closing the loop” in a circular economy.The objectives and targets set in European legislation have been crucial drivers to:

  • improve waste management,
  • stimulate innovation in recycling and reuse,
  • limit land-filling,
  • reduce losses of resources and
  • create incentives to change consumer behavior.

In order for the private sector to continue improving Europe’s waste management and recycling performance, there is a need for a stable regulatory environment and legal certainty, which will allow making even more investments in innovative and efficient technologies. As a member to FEAD ”Hrabricistac” is now able to contribute these needs and developments.

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EWB: From this cooperation can be expected guidelines for harmonization of regulations in the field of industrial waste in order to harmonize the laws that are important in the process of accession to the EU. Can you please evaluate regulation in Serbia and willingness to harmonize the laws?

PH: I cannot evaluate existing regulations in Serbia and its willingness to harmonize its legislation; nevertheless Serbia has to align its legislation with European law. There might be some possibilities during the negotiations regarding Serbia’s accession process to derogate some implementation requirements by time. But in any case will Serbia has to implement all waste related regulations, equal which type of waste they are addressing.

EWB: Since the field of the environment is one of the most challenging sectors for negotiations to join the EU, integration include the adoption and implementation of European standards and norms, and the creation of institutional and administrative assumptions on the local and national level. How do you assess the situation in Serbia?

PH: The transposition and implementation of the whole European Environmental Aquis into national Serbian Law will become one of the biggest challenges for the Serbian Administration. Nevertheless it is necessary and all former new Member States had to deal with it as well. It also does not automatically mean that additional institutional or administrative bodies have to be newly established in Serbia.

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EWB: What are the FEAD’s plans for the future and what will be a priority for you?

PH: The Top-5 priorities of FEAD are: 1. Implementation of the Waste Framework Directive in the Member States (Revision       of the waste-related targets, Hungarian case – breach of competition Law, etc.), 2. EC Communication on circular economy, 3. Waste Shipments, 4. BREFs (Waste Treatment & Waste Incineration) and 5. Revision of the public procurement Directives and new Directive on concessions.

The European goals of sustainable growth, a competitive economy, and a revitalized industry require a move towards a “Circular Economy” – one in which waste is minimized and the waste which cannot be prevented is used as a valuable resource providing raw materials and energy both for European industry and the world market.

For that reason, the European private waste and resource management sector can and should play a key role in the EU’s economic agenda, as well as the environmental agenda. The sector can bring significant benefits in supporting growth and competitiveness, providing sustainable green jobs in a Circular Economy, and in helping to meet the EU’s sustainability and climate goals.A thriving private sector waste and resources industry is the most effective way of ensuring materials and energy are returned to productive use in the European economy. Its expertise can help redesign Europe’s supply chains to maximize resource efficiency and improve Europe’s resilience to resource scarcity. The waste and resource industry is also a key source of new technologies and green jobs across Europe – a vitally important eco‐industry of the future.

The waste and resources industry has a key role in providing the infrastructure and the logistics to collect materials at the end of their use and to process and return them to the European economy as secondary resources, as well as to help meet demand on world markets.

The private sector should be enabled to deliver the large scale and long term investment needed to recover materials and energy as part of the European Circular Economy of the future.

A key requirement will be a stable and well enforced policy and legal framework on waste and resources at European level, including fair and open competition between public and private sector providers of waste and resource management services.

In addition, new policy measures are needed along the entire value chain to help stimulate the flow of private investment in infrastructure needed to achieve a Circular Economy.

FEAD wants and will heavily support such developments as described above.