MEPs keep up pressure over circular economy laws

MEPs have backed calls to impose binding waste-reduction targets, application of pay-as-you-throw measures by Member States and a landfill ban on biodegradable waste and waste by 2025.

The Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry aims to inform debate on environmental policy ahead of the EU referendum

At a meeting of the Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety in Brussels yesterday (June 18) MEPs endorsed a resolution urging the EU Commission to follow through on its pledge to develop a new ‘circular economy’ policy package before the end of 2015.

MEPs on the EU's Environment Committee have backed a resolution on the circular economy laws
MEPs on the EU’s Environment Committee have backed a resolution on the circular economy laws

56 MEPs voted in favour of the resolution, which will be put before all MEPs at a plenary session in Strasbourg at the beginning of July.

The Commission is currently drafting a new set of proposals to amend waste and recycling legislation after scrapping proposals put forward by the former Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik last summer.

A consultation on the principles of the new proposals was launched last month, and the Commission has stated that it is seeking to develop a ‘more ambitious’ approach to waste and resources than that put forward by Dr Potocnik, encompassing product design, reuse and repair.

However, much of the resolution adopted by the Environment Committee yesterday lends continued support to many of the proposals drawn up by Dr Potocnik, including a 70% recycling target for municipal waste.

Scrapped plans

The scrapped package also included an 80% by 2030 reuse and recycling target for packaging waste, including individual targets for packaging streams such as 90% of paper and cardboard by the end of 2025, 60% of plastic packaging, 80% for wood and 90% for ferrous metal, aluminium and glass by the end of 2030.

In the resolution, MEPs urge the Commission to:

  • Announce proposal on review of waste by the end of 2015;
  • Set extended producer responsibility requirements;
  • Endorse the ‘pay-as-you-throw’ principle;
  • Prioritise separate collection schemes;
  • Increase municipal recycling targets to 70%;
  • Introduce a ban on landfilling recyclable and biodegradable waste by 2025;
  • Introduce a total landfill ban by 2030;
  • Introduce fees for landfilling and incineration.

Speaking after yesterday’s meeting, Sirpa Pietikäinen the Finnish MEP responsible for the resolution, said: “It is a vital step for the EU to use resources more efficiently and to reduce our resource dependency and also to bring savings in material costs. Smart ecodesign of products also bears in mind repairing, reusing and recycling products.

“As Europe is more dependent on imported resources than any other region in the world, moving towards a circular economy is an economic and ecological win-win scenario.”

The Commission’s consultation runs until August 20 2015 and invites views on “various parts of the economic cycle” and runs alongside a further call for evidence on the functioning of waste markets within the EU, which runs until September 4. It is anticipated that a draft set of proposals will be presented by the Commission in the autumn.

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One response to “MEPs keep up pressure over circular economy laws

  1. Do we really want MEPs to meddle in waste collections? Council waste officers should be free to choose the best cost and environmental fit systems that they consider appropriate to their situation. Working to achieve meaningless targets wastes huge amounts of public money and increases carbon-footprint.

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