European Commission recommends actions to boost recycling in 18 countries



The Commission has identified 18 Member States at risk of not meeting reuse and recycling targets for municipal and all packaging waste by 2025 and the 2035 landfilling target.

In the “early warning report” report, the European Commission presents recommendations to 18 Member States at risk of not meeting the targets. The report shows there are “significant differences” in waste management performance across the EU.

It highlights some countries are not close to meeting the targets agreed in EU legislation and more reforms are needed. For example, the report recommends ensuring biowaste treatment, implementing the separate collection of waste and improving data quality.

However, the report also highlights most EU countries have or are in the process of putting place waste reforms to improve recycling rates, some of which should improve results in the coming years.

External factors also influenced performance, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which reduced or halted separate collection in some countries. The recent spike in energy prices is also adversely affecting recycling activities, according to the report.

The Commission is presenting specific recommendations for the 18 Member States that are at risk of not achieving the main 2025 recycling targets set out in the Waste Framework Directive and the Directive on packaging and packaging waste.

These recommendations cover a broad range of actions including reducing non-recyclable waste, increasing reuse, boosting separate collection, developing waste treatment capacities for sorting and recycling, improving governance, deploying economic instruments and raising awareness.

The Commission says it has presented initiatives that contribute to a more circular economy.

The Commission says it has presented initiatives that contribute to a more circular economy and will support Member States in improving performance in waste management and reaching the targets, such as the proposals for new regulations on Waste shipments, packaging and packing waste, and Ecodesign for sustainable products.

Nine Member States are on track to meet the 2025 targets: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Slovenia.

However, 18 Member States are at risk of missing one or both of the 2025 targets. These include Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Latvia, Portugal, Spain and Sweden are at risk of missing the municipal waste target.

Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovakia are at risk of missing both the targets for municipal and overall packaging waste for 2025.

Some countries also continue to landfill most of their municipal waste and will probably fail to meet the 2035 landfilling target, the Commission says.

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