Estonia may face €100 million fine for missed waste management target

Chairman of the Riigikogu's Environment Committee, Rainer Vakra.
Chairman of the Riigikogu's Environment Committee, Rainer Vakra. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

If Estonia misses the goal of recycling at least 50% of municipal waste by 2020, the country may face a €100 million fine, daily Eesti Päevaleht reports.

Kalle Palling (Reform), deputy chairman of the Riigikogu's Environment Committee, told the paper that if the country should fail to meet this waste management target, Estonia might find itself forced to pay an European Union fine of up to €100 million.

The Riigikogu has had the Waste Act in the works for 16 months now, and according to Mr Palling there has been no real progress in the matter. By 2020 Estonia needs to readmit 50% of municipal waste into circulation, with the percentage currently being just 32%.

Due to the slow process and the apparent inability of the parties to agree on the issue, a fairly weak bill can be expected, which likely won't help achieve the waste management target. Although the aim of the parliament is to get the job done before the general election on 3 March, it is apparently the politicking surrounding the ongoing campaign that is negatively affecting the ambition of the new bill.

According to the committee's chairman, Rainer Vakra (SDE), work on the bill is dragging on because drafting the bill, the Ministry of the Environment did not include interest groups to a sufficient extent.

"We have had over 200 amendment proposals, so we're essentially sewing a suit to a button at present. This is definitely not everyday legal practice, and the ministry certainly hasn't drawn up a bill worthy of an A+ grade," Mr Vakra said. "In committee we've discussed the proposals of all interest groups three times already, and these decisions cannot be rushed."

The committee is going on with the discussion of conflicting issues today Monday, while the ministry is hoping to find an answer to some of the objections. Some 130 softer amendment proposals will likely be put to a vote, while more innovative ideas will not be included in the bill at all at least initially.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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