Saturday

19th Jan 2019

EU proposes new waste and recycling targets

  • EU wants to ban dumping recycle materials into landfills (Photo: United Nations Photo)

The European Commission on Wednesday (2 July) laid out new targets to boost recycling and curb waste throughout the Union.

The plans are part of a larger ‘circular economy’ initiative where products, instead of being thrown away, are re-used, repaired and recycled.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

“If we want to compete we have to get the most out of our resources, and that means recycling them back into productive use, not burying them in landfills as waste,” EU environment commissioner Janez Potocnik told reporters in Brussels.

The idea is to get Europeans to recycle 70 percent of municipal waste and 80 percent of packaging waste by 2030.

A dumping ban in landfills by 2025 would be imposed on plastics, metals, glass, paper and cardboard, and biodegradable waste.

The EU went through 90 billion single-use plastic bags in 2010 alone, according to NGOs. The Brussels-based Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE), for its part, notes 42 percent of beverage cartons were recycled in the EU last year.

Overall, the EU produced 2.5 billion tonnes of waste in 2010. Around 36 percent was recycled while the rest was either buried or burned.

Up to 600 million tonnes of materials in discarded waste each year could be recycled, notes the commission.

The commission has also set a political target to increase resource productivity by 30 percent by 2030.

The non-binding target is measured on the basis of gross domestic productivity (GDP) relative to raw material consumption.

Meeting the higher targets, it says, could create almost 600,000 new jobs.

At the EU-decision making level, it means revising the three directives on waste, landfills, and packaging.

While largely welcomed by pro-green groups, the plans have been criticised for not including more concrete measures to limit the resource footprints inherent in the production of goods consumed within the EU.

Brussels-based Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE) notes the target for improving resource use only takes into account the weight of materials used.

“The plans fail to address resources, like land and water, contained in the products we consume,” said FoEE's Ariadna Rodrigo in a statement.

The NGO also says creating a resource productivity indicator by linking it to GDP will distort results.

It points out member states with high GDP will “appear more resource efficient than they really are”.

The leading business lobby group in Europe, BusinessEurope also takes a critical line on linking GDP to the resource efficiency target. It argues the commission should be focusing on efficiency instead of quantity in terms of resources used.

EU to change resource-wasting economic model

The European Commission is working on policy solutions it says are needed to better address the consequences of a rising population, excessive consumption, and dwindling resources.

COP24: Vanuatu in 'constant state of emergency' on climate

Ralph Regenvanu, foreign minister of the Pacific island Vanuatu, said at the COP24 talks in Poland it was disappointing the host country was promoting coal - but was happy with EU contributions to tackle climate change.

News in Brief

  1. EU trade commissioner asks for green light for US talks
  2. Slovakia's commissioner takes unpaid leave to run for presidency
  3. Minority elects Lofven as prime minister of Sweden
  4. Putin opposes EU prospects of Serbia and Kosovo
  5. Tsipras launches campaign to ratify Macedonia deal
  6. US-EU meeting in doubt after Trump cancels plane
  7. Germany and China to sign pact on finance cooperation
  8. Labour divided on second Brexit vote plan

Stakeholder

COP24 Nordic Pavilion: sharing climate solutions with the world

The Nordic Pavilion at COP24 is dedicated to dialogue – TalaNordic – about key themes regarding the transition to a low-carbon society, such as energy, transport, urban futures, the circular economy and green financing.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Aachen treaty and Brexit endgame This WEEK
  2. Germany led way on EU rights protection
  3. How to troll the European Parliament elections
  4. MEPs in Strasbourg: everywhere but the plenary
  5. Brexit delay 'reasonable', as May tries cross-party talks
  6. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  7. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  8. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us