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12-08-2015

European Commission Publishes New Circular Economy Proposal

On December 2nd the European Commission published its long awaited Circular Economy package, following the withdrawal of a previous proposal at the beginning of 2015. When withdrawing the previous proposal, the European Commission promised that it would deliver a ‘more ambitious’ proposal before the end of 2015.

The EC proposal introduces a gradual limitation of the landfilling of municipal waste to 10% by 2030 of total municipal waste generated. "The European plastics industry has been calling for a legally binding landfill restriction on all recyclable as well as other recoverable post-consumer waste by 2025. Although a 10% target constitutes a step in the right direction, it remains a timid attempt to put an end to the landfilling of all waste which can be used a resource”, Karl-H. Foerster, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope, noted. In general though, PlasticsEurope welcomes the publication of the European Commission’s (EC) new Circular Economy package as a step closer to resource efficiency and as a clear achievement of its objective to taking a more holistic approach to the circular economy.

EuPC, the EU-level Trade Association representing European Plastics Converters, also welcomes this new package and many of the initiatives contained in the four legislative proposals (on Waste Framework Directive, Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive, Landfill Directive, and WEEE). However, EuPC is concerned that the level of legal clarity contained in the package is not sufficient to guide companies in Europe towards a circular economy.

Speaking on the proposal, EuPC Managing Director Alexandre Dangis stated “EuPC was hoping for more clarity and harmonisation of the EU waste acquis across EU 28 Member States, however, we fail to see a harmonized approach in the package and we therefore question the level of ambition of this new proposal on provisions on landfilling, EPR schemes and end‐of‐waste criteria.”

The proposal needs more clarity on the difference between recycling and reuse and the calculation methodology remains ambiguous. Instead of pursuing an eventual landfill ban for recyclables by 2025, as supported by EuPC, the Commission proposes a 90% reduction in landfilling of municipal waste by 2030.

The package will now be sent to the European Parliament and the Council for scrutiny and both institutions will carry out work on their positions in the first quarter of 2016.

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