Zero waste central to EU resource efficiency proposals

The European Commission has adopted the Communication Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe to establish an EU framework to promote the circular economy. This will enable the EU to boost recycling and prevent the loss of valuable materials, create jobs, reduce environmental impacts and demonstrate how new business models, eco-design and industrial symbiosis can move towards zero waste.

Banning paper from landfill is included in the proposals

recycle paper

Photo: Winnond

Part of the package includes a legislative proposal to review recycling and other waste related targets. These include:

  • Increase recycling/re-use of municipal waste to 70% in 2030
  • Increase packaging waste recycling/re-use to 80% in 2030 with material-specific targets set to gradually increase between 2020 and 2030 (to reach 90% for paper by 2025 and 60% for plastics, 80% for wood, 90% of ferrous metal, aluminium and glass by the end of 2030)
  • Phase out landfilling by 2025 for recyclable (including plastics, paper, metals, glass and bio-waste) waste in non hazardous waste landfills – corresponding to a maximum landfilling rate of 25%
  • Reduce food waste generation by 30% by 2025
  • Introduce an early warning system to anticipate and avoid possible compliance difficulties
  • Ensure full traceability of hazardous waste
  • Increase the cost-effectiveness of Extended Producer Responsibility schemes by defining minimum conditions
  • Simplify the reporting obligations and lighten obligations affecting SMEs
  • Harmonise and streamline the calculation of the targets and improve the reliability of key statistics
  • Improve the overall coherence by aligning definitions and removing obsolete legal requirements

The proposals will now pass to the European Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for consideration by politicians.

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