24 März 2017

Waste: boost recycling, cut landfilling and curb food waste, Parliament says

Statistics for 2014 suggest that 44% of all municipal waste in the EU is recycled or composted

The share of waste to be recycled would rise to 70% by 2030, from 44% today, under draft legislation adopted on Tuesday. MEPs also want the “waste package” plans to limit the share of landfilling, which has a big environmental impact, to 5% and to deliver a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030. Parliament will now negotiate with Council of Ministers.

Statistics for 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.

“Today, Parliament by a very large majority 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).

“Demand for raw materials by the world economy could increase by a further 50% in the next 15 years. In order to reverse this trend, we must adopt a circular development model which keeps materials and their value in circulation, the only solution able to keep together sustainability with economic growth” she said.

“Re-use, recycling and recovery are becoming the key words around which a new paradigm needs to be built to promote sustainability, innovation and competitiveness, so that waste will cease to be a problem and become a resource” 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.

Landfilling

The draft law limits the share of municipal waste to be landfilled to 10% by 2030. MEPs propose reducing 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.

Food 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.

Next steps

The four reports adopted on Tuesday represent Parliament’s negotiating position, ahead of negotiations with Council of ministers, which yet has to adopt its own position.

Source: European Parliament, press release, 2017-03-14.

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