EP Committee Wants 70% of Waste to be Recycled

  • (c) Lightspring/Shutterstock(c) Lightspring/Shutterstock

In a proposed amendment to the EU’s packaging directive, the Environment Committee (ENVI) of the European Parliament (EP) has come out in favor of increasing the share by weight of waste to be recycled from 44% in 2014 to 70% as well as imposing a 30% reduction in food waste by 2020 and 50% by 2030. Similar targets have been proposed for marine litter. According to the EP’s environment (ENVI) committee, the percentage of waste recycled in 2004 was only 31%.

For packaging material made of paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, metal and wood, the MEPs are pushing for an 80% recycling target by 2030, with interim 2025 targets for each material.

The figures and goals for recycling of packaging materials, in particular plastics, largely resemble those of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation presented at the recently ended World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, and exceed those of the European Commission’s Circular Economy recommendations revised last year.

“We decided to restore the ambitious recycling and landfill targets in line with what the Commission had originally proposed in 2015, said lead MEP Simona Bonafé. “There will no longer be the possibility for member states with the lowest recycling rates to have a blanket derogation,” she said, adding that derogations would be subject to special conditions.

The Parliament’s draft legislation would limit to 10% the share of municipal waste to be landfilled to be up to 2030. Following its passage, the MEPs would like to see this tightened to 5% but with an exception for countries that landfilled more than 65% of their waste in 2013.

At the EP’s plenary session on Mar. 13-16 in Strasbourg, France, the ENVI proposals will be voted on. In a comment, the European Environmental Board (EEB) said over 800,000 new jobs could be created across the EU if MEPs these proposals are adopted – enough to employ one in six of the currently unemployed young people in the current 28 member states.

“Creating new jobs and slashing marine litter are just two of the benefits that boosting recycling targets and helping the repair and reuse industries could bring, said Piotr Barczak, waste policy officer.

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