EU Commission opts for 65% recycling target

The European Commission has this morning (2 December) adopted its revised Circular Economy package, with a 65% by 2030 municipal waste reuse and recycling target among the headline measures.

The European Commission has unveiled its circular economy package this morning
The European Commission has unveiled its circular economy package this morning

The Commission vice president, Frans Timmermans, and Commissioner for Jobs and Growth, Jyrki Katiaien have unveiled the proposals at a press conference in Brussels this morning, following months of negotiations over the direction of the legislative package. The proposals will be presented to MEPs at the European Parliament this afternoon.

Mr Timmermans had promised that the package would show ‘more ambition’ than one adopted in 2014, under the stewardship of former Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik. Dr Potocnik’s package contained an overall recycling target of 70% by 2030.

Commenting on the adoption of the package, Mr Timmermans said: “Our planet and our economy cannot survive if we continue with the ‘take, make, use and throw away’ approach. We need to retain precious resources and fully exploit all the economic value within them. 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. 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.”


Landfill will also be tackled by the Commission with a gradual reduction across Europe to 10% maximum by 2030. Elsewhere, the package also contains proposals to ban the landfilling of separately collected waste streams as well as the promotion of economic instruments to discourage landfilling.


Packaging recycling targets will be set at 65% by 2025 and 75% by 2030. In comparison, Dr Potocnik’s former package floated a 2030 target of 80%. On plastics the Commission has pledged a strategy on plastics in the circular economy, addressing issues of recyclability, biodegradability, the presence of hazardous substances in plastics, and the Sustainable Development Goals target for significantly reducing marine litter

Food waste

Targets for food waste are for it to be halved by 2030. But there is no sign of proposals for a landfill ban on food waste, although the package does call for Member States to implement separate collection of biowaste where it is technically, environmentally and economically practicable.

Key targets overall

  • a common EU target for recycling municipal waste of 65% by 2030;
  • a common EU target for recycling packaging waste of 75% by 2030.
  • material-specific targets for different packaging materials;
  • a binding landfill reduction target of 10% by 2030.



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