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Turning waste into opportunity - the Waste Package as an important part of the Circular Economy

Taina Mertalo
13.04.2018 - 11:35
Recycling

The amount of waste has constantly grown in line with our prosperity. We have to turn the page now to break the link between consumption and waste and to reduce our waste or turn it into a resource. This offers major opportunities for our society and our companies. Instead of considering waste as a problem, we want to recognise its value as secondary raw material and bring its value back into the life cycle. We want new businesses and innovations to grow from the Circular Economy Plan.

Establishing ambitious long-term waste management and recycling

The European Parliament will adopt the Waste Package next week which consists of four Reports and six Directives on waste management in the EU. The package is in its final phase, as the EU Institutions have already reached an agreement.

We have put together an economic package with a potential of 80,000 new jobs and billions in economic growth. Competitiveness and sustainable growth are two sides of the same coin. Karl-Heinz Florenz

The Waste Package sets clear targets for the reduction of waste and establishes an ambitious and credible long-term path for waste management and recycling.

"With the Waste Package, we are substantially improving environmental and climate protection, including reducing landfill. At the same time, we have put together an economic package with a potential of 80,000 new jobs and billions in economic growth. Competitiveness and sustainable growth are two sides of the same coin. Europe cannot afford to lose 2.5 billion tons of raw materials due to miserable waste management, especially because of rising raw material costs", said the EPP Group negotiator for the Waste Package, Karl-Heinz Florenz MEP.

Europe cannot afford to lose 2.5 billion tons of raw materials due to miserable waste management, especially because of rising raw material costs

Waste management in different Member States varies enormously, and there has not been a common definition of waste treatment. Now we have reached one of the main objectives for the EPP Group: to have one single method for measuring the recycling targets to be able to calculate the progress made towards the targets.

One of the main objectives for the EPP Group is to have one single method for measuring the recycling targets to be able to calculate the progress made towards the targets

"Clear, harmonised definitions and a consistent calculation method for the recycling targets were a central concern for me. Only if all Member countries use the same method, can the recycling results be comparable. Currently, most of them use the method that best suits them - a big loophole that we managed to close”, Florenz pointed out.

Establishing minimum requirements for producer responsibility

The Waste Package also establishes minimum requirements for producer responsibility. Producers will be responsible for the entire life cycle of the product and will have to pay a contribution for the take-back, recycling and final disposal.

Producers will be responsible for the entire life cycle of the product and will have to pay a contribution for the take-back, recycling and final disposal

The EPP Group managed to ensure that in the future, producers know their responsibilities and what they will have to pay for. To achieve this, we adopted a ‘closed list’ on costs to be borne by the producer, rather than an open-ended ‘wish list’. We also made sure that producers have the freedom to fulfil their obligations individually or collectively.

Increasing the recycling quotes and limiting landfilling

The Waste Package sets the following targets for the reduction of waste:

  • Municipal waste: recycled or prepared for re-use: 55% by 2025, 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035 (with a derogation of five years for 10 Member States);
  • Member States will have to set up a separate collection for textiles and hazardous waste from households by 2025 and ensure that bio-waste is collected separately by 2024;
  • Packaging materials: 65% recycling rate by 2025 and 70% by 2030 with additional material specific targets which encourage the use of recyclable and reusable packaging;
  • Landfilling limited to 10%, although all waste suitable for recycling or other recovery, in particular in municipal waste, shall not be accepted in a landfill by 2030 (with a derogation of five years for 10 Member States);
  • Food waste: non-binding 30% reduction by 2025 and 50% by 2050, with a review clause at the end of 2023 for a possible binding target by 2030.

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