Waste News

MEPs call for higher recycling rates

Exceeding the targets set out by the European Commission by five per cent, Members of the European Parliament have proposed a 70 per cent recycling weight target from households and businesses by 2030 according to a draft legislation.

An 80 per cent target for 2030 for packaging materials (such as paper, cardboard, plastics, and glass), were also proposed in the hopes of reducing municipal waste in landfills to five per cent by 2030.

In response to the changes the Environmental Services Association (ESA) has warned that ambitions must to be “realistic” if practical steps are to be taken.

Jacob Hayler, ESA’s executive director said:

Since the start of negotiations on the Commission’s proposals, ESA has consistently pointed out that raising recycling rates will not help to achieve a more circular economy unless accompanied by effective measures to increase and sustain the demand for the extra recyclable materials collected. Nothing which the Parliament did yesterday addresses this fundamental issue

“The same lack of realism runs through other amendments adopted by the Parliament. The recycling calculation method chosen is virtually impracticable, and if it could be implemented would make a 70% recycling rate unachievable by even the best performing member states.”

Statistics for 2014 suggest that 44 per cent of all municipal waste in the EU is recycled or composted.

Changes in the way that recycling is measured were also proposed in an attempt to ‘harmonise’ the four current methods to chart recycling progress.

Current methods have been criticised for their ‘fragmented’ portrait of recycling across EU states.

The primary contention lies in the fact that recycling is currently counted at the point of input, or through a derogation.

The European Parliament has voted to remove this derogation, agreeing that, “no further sorting operation is needed and waste materials are effectively reprocessed into products, materials or substances.”

Commenting on the change, Emmanuel Katrakis, secretary general of the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) said that:

 In other words, measuring recycling targets at the input of production processes runs against the objective of accurate and uniform statistics across the EU.

“During trilogues, it is crucial that Member States and the European Parliament ensure that the rules to measure recycling targets will not create more confusion and loopholes but rather agree on a method able to deliver robust and comparable statistics across the EU.”

The proposed changes will now go forward into negotiations with the Council of Ministers.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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