Waste: boost recycling, cut landfilling and curb food waste, say MEPs
The share of waste to be recycled should be raised to 70% by 2030, from 44% today, while landfilling, which has a big environmental impact, should be limited to 5%, said Environment Committee MEPs on Tuesday, as they amended the draft EU “waste package” legislation. They also advocate a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030.
Statistics from 2014 suggest that 44% of all municipal waste in the EU is recycled or composted. This compares to just 31% in 2004, and by 2020 EU member states should be recycling or composting over 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 and 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, (i.e. 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 an 80% target for 2030, with interim 2025 targets for each material.
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 in the EU is estimated at some 89 million 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.
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.
Note to editors
In 2014, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden sent virtually no municipal waste to landfill, whereas Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Latvia and Malta still landfill more than three quarters of their municipal waste.
Although waste management in the EU has improved considerably in recent decades, almost a third of municipal waste is still landfilled and less than half is recycled or composted, with wide variations between member states.
Improving waste management could deliver benefits for the environment, climate, human health and the economy. As part of a shift in EU policy towards a circular economy, the European Commission made four legislative proposals introducing new waste-management targets regarding reuse, recycling and landfilling.
The proposals also strengthen EU provisions on waste prevention and extended producer responsibility, and streamline definitions, reporting obligations and calculation methods for targets.