EU Parliament adopted the legislative package on waste management.
On occasion of the Plenary session held in Strasbourg on 16-18 April, the EU Parliament voted and adopted the legislative package on waste management.
Back in December 2015 the Commission submitted a proposal amending the 2008 Waste Framework Directive, which focused mainly on municipal waste. The S&D Group in the European Parliament called for a full set of coherent measures that would ensure a just transition to a zero-waste production system.
S&D MEP Simona Bonafè drafted the four parliamentary reports for the new directives - on waste, landfill, packaging and recycling of vehicles, batteries and electronic equipment - and negotiated with the Council until a decent deal was reached last December.
Improving waste management will not only benefit the environment, climate, and human health. The four pieces of legislation are also part of a shift in EU policy towards a circular economy, i.e. a system where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible.
By 2025, at least 55% of municipal waste (from households and businesses) should be recycled, says the text, as agreed with Council of Ministers. The target will rise to 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035. 65% of packaging materials will have to be recycled by 2025, and 70% by 2030. Separate targets are set for specific packaging materials, such as paper and cardboard, plastics, glass, metal and wood.
Landfilling to become an exception. The draft law also limits the share of municipal waste being landfilled to a maximum of 10% by 2035. 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. Textiles and hazardous waste from households will have to be collected separately by 2025. By 2024, biodegradable waste will also have to be either collected separately or recycled at home through composting.
Reduce food waste by 50 %. In line with the UN sustainable development goals, member states should aim to reduce food waste by 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030.
“With this package, Europe is firmly committed to sustainable economic and social development, which will at last integrate industrial policies and environmental protection”, said lead MEP Simona Bonafé (S&D, IT). “The circular economy is not only a waste management policy, but is a way to recover raw materials and not to overstretch the already scarce resources of our planet, also by profoundly innovating our production system”.
Member States are demanded to take appropriate measures to encourage the development, production, marketing and use of products and components of products that are suitable for multiple use, that contain recycled materials, that are technically durable and easily reparable and that are, after having become waste, suitable for preparing for re-use and recycling in order to facilitate proper implementation of the waste hierarchy and without compromising the free movement of goods in the internal market. In Article 4 of the Waste Directive, the following paragraph is added: '3. Member States shall make use of economic instruments and other measures to provide incentives for the application of the waste hierarchy, such as those indicated in Annex IVa or other appropriate instruments and measures.
As reuse entails the avoidance of placing new packaging on the market and increasing the volumes of packaging waste generated, reusable sales packaging that is placed on the market for the first time and wooden packaging that is repaired for reuse should be taken into account for the purposes of attaining the respective packaging recycling targets.
Texts adopted by the EU Parliament: