The European Parliament’s Environmental Committee has voted in favour of a higher recycling target that would aim for 70 per cent recycling by 2030.
Amendments to the EU Circular Economy Package will be discussed more widely by MEPs at a Plenary session in March, although it will need backing of European ministers before the targets are adopted into European law.
The original target, which sat at 65 per cent after being proposed by the European Commission in December 2015, was deemed to be to short sighted, with the new targets being designed to “accelerate the switch to a circular economy.”
It was also agreed that the should be a requirement for separate collections of bio-waste, textiles and wood, much like the TEEP requirements in place for paper, metal, plastic, and glass.
The text originally in place said that the final recycling process, “means the recycling process which begins when no further mechanical sorting operation is needed and waste materials enter a production process and are effectively reprocessed into products, materials or substances.”
This sentence has however been amended and should now read that, “the recycling process which begins when no further sorting operation is needed and waste materials are effectively reprocessed into products, materials or substances.”
It is also expected that despite the EU referendum held in June, that these new laws shall also be upheld in the UK.
Ferran Rosa, Policy Officer for campaign network Zero Waste Europe, said, “Achieving high recycling and low waste generation is not rocket science, but a matter of setting objectives, ensuring proper separate collection, getting citizens involved and making use of economic incentives and the vote of today allows for all of this to happen.”
There is also a more immediate recycling target of 50 per cent, which member states must achieve by 2020. It is expected that England shall miss this target as in December 2016 it was announced that recycling rates in the country had fallen for the first time, at 44.8 per cent in 2014 to 43.9 per cent in 2015.
At the time, Kate Parminter, the Liberal Democrat shadow environment secretary said that, “The government must act now to reverse this worrying decline. We urgently need better incentives to boost recycling and end Britain’s throwaway culture.”
It is thought that austerity driven budget cuts are responsible for the fall in recycling rates.