The European Commission (EC) has launched its more “ambitious” Circular Economy Package this week by lowering recycling targets. In the previous proposal that was withdrawn last year because it wasn’t comprehensive enough to transform the EU economy to a truly circular model, targets of 70% municipal waste recycling and 80% packaging recycling by 2030 were outlined. The new package has dropped these targets to 65% municipal waste recycling and 75% packaging recycling by 2030.
According to the EC, the proposed actions will contribute to "closing the loop" of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use, and bring benefits for both the environment and the economy.
The revised legistation places an emphasis on plastics by addressing issues of recyclability, biodegradability and the presence of hazardous substances in plastics.
Key elements of the revised waste proposal include:
- A binding landfill target to reduce landfill to maximum of 10% of all waste by 2030;
- A ban on landfilling of separately collected waste;
- Promotion of economic instruments to discourage landfilling;
- Simplified and improved definitions and harmonized calculation methods for recycling rates throughout the EU;
- Concrete measures to promote re-use and stimulate industrial symbiosis—turning one industry's by-product into another industry's raw material;
- Economic incentives for producers to put greener products on the market and support recovery and recycling schemes (e.g. for packaging, batteries, electric and electronic equipment, vehicles).
European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans (pictured), responsible for sustainable development, said: "The circular economy is about reducing waste and protecting the environment, but it is also about a profound transformation of the way our entire economy works. By rethinking the way we produce, work and buy we can generate new opportunities and create new jobs.
He added, “With today's package, we are delivering the comprehensive framework that will truly enable this change to happen. It sets a credible and ambitious path for better waste management in Europe with supportive actions that cover the full product cycle. This mix of smart regulation and incentives at EU level will help businesses and consumers, as well as national and local authorities, to drive this transformation."
For more on the European Commission’s proposal, see: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-6203_en.htm