European Parliament approves higher recycling rates

14th March 2017 Jonathan Andrews

The European Parliament has approved a 70 percent target for the recycling of municipal waste in a move to further support the circular economy. The parliament voted today (14 March) in plenary to strengthen resource efficiency in the EU by 2030.

The 75 percent target goes above the proposed 65 percent–with 5 percent of that waste to be prepared for reuse.

“The European Parliament has sent a clear message to EU environment ministers: any attempt to water down this level of ambition would compromise efforts to transition to a stronger and resource-efficient economy for the European people,” said Piotr Barczak, Waste Policy Officer at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).

Other key targets agreed to include:

  • 80 percent target for the recycling of packaging waste;
  • A landfill limit of 5 percent;
  • Mandatory separate collection for the main waste streams, including bio-waste, 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.

While praising efforts to enhance reuse and recycling operations, binding reduction targets for food waste and marine litter are still missing.

“Around 88 million tonnes of food are wasted each year in the EU–enough to feed the 55 million Europeans living in food poverty more than nine times over,” added Barczak. “This is one of Europe’s biggest environmental and humanitarian crises, and it will only get worse if policy makers don’t come up with a legally binding framework to prevent this.”

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.

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