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EU Waste & Recycling Proposals 2014

The European Commission on the 2nd July 2014, formally adopted proposals for the future of waste and recycling targets within Europe, as part of measures towards achieving a circular economy.

Amongst the key proposals is an increased target for Member States to recycle or reuse 70% of municipal waste by 2030, an increase on the current 50% by 2020 target.

Measures to encourage a 30% reduction in the amount of food waste generated by Member States by 2025 are also set to be considered, while the Commission is proposing to put in place an early warning system to anticipate difficulties of Member States to achieve targets.

The Commission is also proposing a ban on sending recyclable materials such as plastics, paper, metals, glass and biodegradable waste to landfill by 2025, as well as phasing out landfilling of waste by 2030.

Having been adopted by the European Commission the proposals will pass to the European Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for consideration by politicians.

Energy from waste plants also features in the proposals. The Commission explained that the measures announced are aimed at reducing Member States’ reliance on investment in ‘inflexible’, large-scale residual waste treatment projects. These projects “may stand in the way of the potential to improve resource efficiency through reducing waste generation at source and reusing and recycling more of the waste which is generated.”

Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik, who has spearheaded the development of the proposals, said that if adopted the plans would modernise the EU resource model, and potentially create a raft of new jobs.

“Moving to a circular economy is not only possible, it is profitable, but that does not mean it will happen without the right policies. The 2030 targets that we propose are about taking action today to accelerate the transition to a circular economy and exploiting the business and job opportunities it offers.”