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Market News

 February 10, 2017
Waste: boost recycling, cut landfilling and curb food waste, say MEPs

 The share of waste to be recycled should be raised to 70% by 2030, from 44% today, while landfilling, which has a big environmental impact, should be limited to 5%, said Environment Committee MEPs on Tuesday, as they amended the draft EU "waste package" legislation. They also advocate a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030.

Statistics from 2014 suggest that 44% of all municipal waste in the EU is recycled or composted. This compares to just 31% in 2004, and by 2020 EU member states should be recycling or composting over 50% of waste.

"The ENVI committee has showed that it believes in the transition towards a circular economy. We decided to restore the ambitious recycling and landfill targets in line with what the Commission had originally proposed in 2014 said lead MEP Simona Bonafè (S&D, IT).

"There will no longer be the possibility for Member States with the lowest recycling rates to have a 'blanket' derogation. They will be able to request a derogation, but it will be subject to specific conditions" she added.

Waste and packaging waste

By 2030, at least 70% by weight of so-called municipal waste (from households and businesses) should be recycled or prepared for re-use, (i.e. checked, cleaned or repaired), say MEPs. The European Commission proposed 65%.

For packaging materials, such as paper and cardboard, plastics, glass, metal and wood, MEPs propose an 80% target for 2030, with interim 2025 targets for each material.

Landfilling

The draft law limits the share of municipal waste to be landfilled to 10% by 2030. MEPs propose tightening this to 5%, albeit with a possible five-year extension, under certain conditions, for member states which landfilled more than 65% of their municipal waste in 2013. EU countries such as Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Latvia, Malta and Romania still landfill more than three quarters of their municipal waste.

Food waste

Food waste in the EU is estimated at some 89 million tonnes, or 180 kg per capita per year. MEPs advocate an EU food waste reduction target of 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030, compared to 2014. They also propose a similar target for marine litter.

Next steps

The four proposals in the package will be put to a vote by the full House at the 13-16 March plenary session in Strasbourg.