MEPs Vote In Favour Of 70% Recycling Target [UPDATED]

european-commission-circular-economyEuropean Parliament’s environment committee has voted to amend the European Commission’s Circular Economy Package, increasing the recycling target for member states from 65% to 70% by 2030.

In previous resolutions, European Parliament has called for more ambitious targets. This vote is the first step towards entering negotiations with the Commission and Council.

Amendments, tabled by the Italian MEP Simona Bonafè, also include a mandatory requirement for the separate collection of bio-waste, textiles and wood.

Agreed amendments also set a 50% food waste reduction target, and state that at least 5% of the 70% recycling target should be “prepared for reuse”.

Amendments to the wording of text relating to the “final recycling process” have also been proposed.

“There will no longer be the possibility for member states with the lowest recycling rates to have a ‘blanket’ derogation. They will be able to request a derogation, but it will be subject to specific conditions”

The original definition stated: “the recycling process which begins when no further mechanical sorting operation is needed and waste materials enter a production process and are effectively reprocessed into products, materials or substances.”

The amended to the wording, approved today, states: “the recycling process which begins when no further sorting operation is needed and waste materials are effectively reprocessed into products, materials or substances.”

According to statistics from 2014, 44% of all municipal waste in the EU is recycled or composted. This compares to just 31% in 2004. By 2020, member states are required to recycle at least 50% of waste.

“The ENVI committee has showed that it believes in the transition towards a circular economy. We decided to restore the ambitious recycling and landfill targets in line with what the Commission had originally proposed in 2014 said lead MEP Simona Bonafè (S&D, IT).

“There will no longer be the possibility for member states with the lowest recycling rates to have a ‘blanket’ derogation. They will be able to request a derogation, but it will be subject to specific conditions” she added.

Waste & Packaging Waste 

By 2030, at least 70% by weight of so-called municipal waste (from households and businesses) should be recycled or prepared for re-use, (ie, checked, cleaned or repaired), say MEPs. The European Commission proposed 65%.

For packaging materials, such as paper and cardboard, plastics, glass, metal and wood, MEPs propose a 70% target for 2030, with interim 2025 targets for each material.

Landfilling

The draft law limits the share of municipal waste to be landfilled to 10% by 2030. MEPs propose tightening this to 5%, albeit with a possible five-year extension, under certain conditions, for member states which landfilled more than 65% of their municipal waste in 2013. EU countries such as Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Latvia, Malta and Romania still landfill more than three quarters of their municipal waste.

Food waste

Food waste in the EU is estimated at some 89m tonnes, or 180 kg per capita per year. MEPs advocate an EU food waste reduction target of 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030, compared to 2014. They also propose a similar target for marine litter.

Kierra Box, food campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “This is a significant vote because for the first time, we have a really clear, shared plan of how food waste can be reduced and prevented. With the UK throwing out so much edible food, it’s clear that waste on this scale has to stop.
“However, if we’re serious about slashing food waste we need to stop just aiming for change, and instead make it happen. It was a lost opportunity that today’s targets aren’t binding which means countries can wriggle out of their commitments.”

The four proposals in the package will be put to a vote by the full House at the 13-16 March plenary session in Strasbourg.

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