To meet the according EU target, Estonia will need to increase its municipal waste recycling to 50% from currently just over 30% by 2020. This makes the passing of new legislation a relatively urgent issue. But as more than 200 amendment proposals were submitted for the recently discussed bill to change the Waste Act, the Riigikogu's Environment Committee has now decided to stop working on it—and instead start from scratch.
Hence the bill won't be handed to the Riigikogu's plenum for a second reading, the parliament's press office reported on Tuesday.
Committee chairman Rainer Vakra (SDE) said that although the aim to reduce municipal waste is clear, the way to achieve it is subject of intense debate: the committee has had "more than 10" meetings with interest groups.
"A total of 250 amendment proposals were submitted, 130 of which were sorted out with the interest groups," Mr Vakra said. The most recent effort, then, has been to wrap these 130 into the bill before its second reading.
"Nevertheless, too many diverging opinions remained concerning important issues for us to going on working on the bill," Mr Vakra added. He criticised the Ministry of the Environment, saying that it should have done a better job making sure the bill is actually ready to be handed on to the Riigikogu.
The committee's deputy chairman, Kalle Palling (Reform), said that the bill's impending inglorious end was predictable. "On one hand this is a lesson learned, and the leader of the government, the ministry, the Riigikogu, but also the included sector all have a reason to look in the mirror," Mr Palling said according to a Riigikogu press update.
Mr Palling also pointed to the potential very large fine Estonia would have to pay to the European Commission should it fail to meet the 2020 waste management target.
"The better handling of waste remains an issue on the agenda," Mr Palling added: "Separating waste and motivating people to achieve the aim of 50% recycling by 2020 is the first task the next minister of the environment will have to deal with."
Editor: Dario Cavegn