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03-16-2017

European Parliament Votes on Waste Rules

The share of waste to be recycled would rise to 70% by 2030, from 44% today, under draft legislation adopted on March 14. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) also want the “waste package” plans to limit the share of landfilling, which has a big environmental impact, to 5% and to deliver a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030. Parliament will now negotiate with Council of Ministers.

Statistics for 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. "Demand for raw materials by the world economy could increase by a further 50% in the next 15 years. In order to reverse this trend, we must adopt a circular development model which keeps materials and their value in circulation, the only solution able to keep together sustainability with economic growth" said lead MEP Simona Bonafè (S&D, IT).

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. In 2014, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden sent virtually no municipal waste to landfill, whereas Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Latvia and Malta still landfill more than three quarters of their municipal waste. Although waste management in the EU has improved considerably in recent decades, almost a third of municipal waste is still landfilled and less than half is recycled or composted, with wide variations between member states.

The four reports adopted on Tuesday represent Parliament’s negotiating position, ahead of negotiations with Council of ministers, which yet has to adopt its own position.

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