European Parliament votes to strengthen waste laws to support Circular Economy
Members of the European Parliament voted in plenary today to strengthen resource efficiency in the EU by 2030 – a move that signals strong political support for the transition towards a circular economy.
The text approved today includes:
- 70% target for the recycling of municipal waste, as opposed to 65 percent – with a five percent of that waste to be prepared for reuse;
- 80% target for the recycling of packaging waste
- A landfill limit of 5%
- Mandatory separate collection for the main waste streams, including biowaste, waste oils and textiles;
- Increasing use of economic instruments such as landfill and incineration taxes and deposit-return schemes, and
- More clarity on the decontamination of hazardous components in waste.
The Council of the European Union is expected to take a position on the Circular Economy strategy in the coming months, before the Parliament, Commission and Council can all agree on the final text.
During the debate, European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans promised to do his best to keep the final text as close as possible to the Parliament’s proposal throughout the inter-institutional negotiations.
Although waste management in the EU has improved considerably in recent decades, almost a third of municipal waste is still landfilled and less than half is recycled or composted, with wide variations between member states.
Improving waste management could deliver benefits for the environment, climate, human health and the economy. As part of a shift in EU policy towards a circular economy, the European Commission made four legislative proposals introducing new waste-management targets regarding reuse, recycling and landfilling.
The proposals also strengthen EU provisions on waste prevention and extended producer responsibility, and streamline definitions, reporting obligations and calculation methods for targets.