The Environment Committee of the European Parliament (ENVI) has proposed to significantly raise the ambition of the “Waste legislative package” that was proposed to be a part of the European Commission’s Circular Economy Package launched in December 2015.

On 24 January, the ENVI Committee voted to approve an amendment of the draft waste package that includes the legislation on waste, landfills, packaging and vehicle, battery and electronic equipment recycling. The proposal suggests to further improve efficiency of waste management by introducing stricter targets in order to move towards a Circular Economy where most waste is reused, recycled and used as a resource. In their draft text the committee puts forward four main proposals for improving the current Circular Economy Package:

  • Raise the share of recycled waste to 70% by 2030, with an interim target of 50% in 2020. Currently 44% of municipal solid waste in the EU is being recycled
  • 80% recycling of packaging waste (paper and cardboard, plastics, glass, metal and wood)
  • Limit landfilling to 5%. This is a further reduction from the 10% suggested in the draft legislative package. As many countries still have high rates of landfilling there will be a five year extension for countries with more than 65% landfilling
  • Introducing targets for food waste. It is suggested to achieve a 50% reduction of food waste by 2030 (30% by 2025) as compared to 2014

The proposals by the ENVI Committee also strengthen EU provisions on waste prevention and extended producer responsibility, and streamline definitions, reporting obligations and calculation methods for targets. ENVI also call on Member States to make extensive use of economic instruments, such as pay-as-you-throw schemes and taxes or levies on landfilling and incineration.

Many European regions are far from meeting today’s waste management targets, and 50% of the waste are still either burned or landfilled, wasting valuable resources. If approved, these new – more ambitious – waste targets will increase the pressure on regions to further improve their waste management and to speed up their transition to a circular economy. Introducing more sustainable waste management by cutting landfilling, and increasing recycling and reuse would have numerous benefits including positive effects for the environment as well as for the economy. A more effective mixture of waste management and prevention policies would also contribute to the GHG reductions and help member states to achieve their climate change targets. The amended waste package will be put to a vote by the European Parliament full House in Strasbourg on 13-16 March 2017.

More information on the European Parliaments website:

Read more of the EU’s Circular Economy Package and the legislative proposals on waste on DG ENV website.

Image credit: Image by Efes Kitap from Pixabay