MEPs call for tighter EU rules on consumption and waste

The European Parliament yesterday (9 February) called for the EU to introduce binding targets to use recycled content in products and consume fewer raw materials.

Up to 80% of the environmental impact of products is determined at the design phase. The global consumption of materials is expected to double in the next forty years, while the amount of waste generated every year is projected to increase by 70% by 2050. Half of total greenhouse gas emissions, and more than 90% of biodiversity loss and water stress, come from extracting and processing resources.

In March 2020, the European Commission adopted a new “Circular Economy Action Plan for a Cleaner and More Competitive Europe”.

debate in the Environment Committee took place in October 2020, and the report was adopted on 27 January 2021.

MEPs said that ‘binding 2030 targets’ are needed for materials use and our consumption footprint, covering the whole lifecycle of each product category placed on the EU market.

They also call on the Commission to propose product-specific and/or sector-specific binding targets for recycled content.

Parliament urges the Commission to put forward new legislation in 2021, broadening the scope of the Ecodesign Directive to include non-energy-related products.

This should set product-specific standards, so that products placed on the EU market perform well, are durable, reusable, can be easily repaired, are not toxic, can be upgraded and recycled, contain recycled content, and are resource- and energy-efficient, MEPs state.

In the plenary debate, MEPs also emphasised that achieving the Green Deal objectives will only be possible if the EU switches to a circular economy model, and that this change will create new jobs and business opportunities.

Existing legislation on waste must be implemented ‘more thoroughly’, they stated, saying ‘further measures’ are needed for key sectors and products, such as textiles, plastics, packaging and electronics.

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