UK unveils its own Circular Economy Package

The UK has re-affirmed its commitment to recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2035 as it today (30 July) set out its approach to transposing the EU circular economy package (CEP) into domestic law.

The UK’s own Circular Economy Package was published today by the UK, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland governments. Predominantly the same as the European CEP, it includes targets such as sending no more than 10% municipal waste to landfill by 2035.

The EU Circular Economy Package was approved in April 2018 (see letsrecycle.com story) but will no longer apply in the UK following Brexit.

Rebecca Pow is recycling minister

Today’s statement cements a commitment previously made by ministers to ensure environmental standards are upheld after Brexit.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “We are committed to increasing our recycling rates and reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfill to create a cleaner waste industry and reduce carbon emissions.

“Through our landmark environment bill we will be bringing forward a raft of measures to do just that, and this new Circular Economy Package takes us yet another step forward to transforming our waste industry.”

The package restricts the materials which can be landfilled or incinerated and includes a requirement that waste separately collected for recycling must not be incinerated or sent to landfill.

When contacted by letsrecycle.com, a spokesman for Defra said the original transposition deadline for the legislation was 5 July 2020.

“Defra is now working to transpose the regulations as soon as possible following unavoidable delays due to the coronavirus outbreak,” he added.


Much of the package is the same as that adopted by the EU. A full breakdown of measures and proposed approaches to transposition can be seen here.

We are committed to increasing our recycling rates”

Rebecca Pow

Though the UK was set to leave the EU, the government said it was to include the Circular Economy measures within UK law at the time of their approval. This was partly because the measures became EU law before the UK left.

The government says the CEP confirms that future national waste plans for England will set out the measures the UK will take to recycle 65% of municipal waste by 2035 and to have no more than 10% municipal waste going to landfill by 2035.

Both are targets committed to in the Resources and Waste Strategy.


The government says it is looking to lay legislation in the autumn to transpose the relevant CEP regulations into UK law.

The UK, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland governments say they decided to issue a public statement about the adoption of the measures and not run a formal consultation.

They explained that the bulk of the CEP measures are relatively small technical changes, while in some cases the implementing legislation simply adopts the same wording as that of the European directive.

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