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EU May Face Tougher Recycling Targets

LandfillEU countries will face tougher recycling targets and a ban on burying recyclable waste in landfills under plans presented by the European Commission.

The proposals are part of the Commission’s Waste Targets Review, which includes updated recycling targets of 70 percent of household waste and 80 percent of packaging waste by 2030. Material-specific targets would be set to gradually increase to reach 90 percent for paper by 2025, and by 2030 targets would be 60 percent for plastics, 80 percent for wood, and 90 percent for ferrous metal, aluminum and glass.

The proposed ban on burying recyclable waste in landfills would begin in 2025.

According to the Commission, the new targets would create as many as 580,000 new waste management jobs and make Europe more competitive by reducing demand for costly scarce resources. The proposals must now pass to the European Parliament and Commission for approval.

If implemented, the new targets would update targets in place under three existing directives:

  • The Waste Framework Directive commits national governments to reuse or recycle 50 percent of household waste by 2020.
  • The Landfill Directive sets targets to progressively reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste being sent to landfills by 2016.
  • The Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, in place since 2008, requires that EU countries recover 60 percent of all packaging waste.

The new measures proposed by the Commission would simplify the existing waste legislation and set minimum operating conditions for extended producer responsibility plans. The measures would also include an “early warning system” which would anticipate when individual EU countries are experiencing difficulty in meeting targets.

The 2025 landfill ban would apply to the main types of recyclable waste: glass, metals, plastics, paper and cardboard, and biodegradable waste.

According to the Commission, its objective is to “virtually eliminate” the need to send any household waste to landfills by 2030 and to turn Europe into a circular economy.

Photo Credit: Landfill via Shutterstock

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