MEPs vote Tuesday 14 March on four directives concerning waste management, mainly waste from households and small firms, representing 8% of total waste. These plans are a first step towards creating a circular economy where products are designed in order to facilitate reuse. One of the key issues is how ambitious targets should be for recycling rates and limiting landfilling, which is probably the most harmful way of getting rid of waste.
Moving to a more environmentally-friendly economic model involves reducing the amount of waste by re-using, collecting, recycling and repairing as much as possible.
Landfilling is the cheapest way to get of waste but also the most harmful option for the environment and potentially for human health. That why it is necessary to limit landfilling to the minimum and move towards other methods such as incineration, or even better recycling, reusing and repairing. Lower rates of landfilling usually involves higher rates of recycling. The less a country uses landfills, the more it tends to recycle.
Although incineration is a better alternative than landfilling, excessive rates of incineration could lead to lower rates of recycling. Some countries such as Finland and Denmark have very high incineration rates because they also use it to produce energy. This new legislation could affect this.
The European Commission has proposed a target of 65% recycling and a maximum of 10% landfilling by 2030. Parliament's environment committee is backing more ambitious targets: 70% for recycling and 5% for landfilling.
All MEPs get to have a say on the proposals during the plenary session on Tuesday 14 March. The legislative package includes four separate directives on waste, landfills, packaging and vehicle, battery and electronic equipment recycling.