The European Parliament’s draft response to the proposed circular economy (CE) package has provoked widespread comment within the sector.
In December, the European Commission published its original CE proposals, including a target of 65% for the preparation for reuse and recycling of municipal waste by 2030 and a 75% target for packaging waste.
Parliament’s rapporteur for the package, Simona Bonafe, has now proposed more ambitious measures across the board, including higher recycling targets as well as a single harmonised calculation method across member states instead of the Commission’s suggested four.
Her report also gained attention for suggesting the removal of a clause allowing member states to offer commingled instead of separate collections where it is technically, environmentally and economically practicable (TEEP).
DS Smith welcomed Bonafe’s report, saying separate collection schemes were essential to achieving high-quality recycling.
Business development and external affairs manager Peter Clayson (pictured above) praised the call for higher recycling targets, saying the figures in the Commission’s original proposals were lower than expected.
“Without higher targets, we are not truly challenging ourselves to be the generation that protected the world’s resources by putting an end to the throwaway culture,” he said.
“DS Smith believes the amendment to increase municipal recycling to at least 60% by 2025 and at least 70% by 2030 will truly reflect a move towards the CE.
“Setting targets is crucial to measure progress, and DS Smith supports establishing waste prevention targets across the whole EU to monitor reductions.”
No targets for the recycling of trade waste were included in the Commission’s original CE package, but Bonafe has called for such targets for 2025 and 2030 to be established by the end of 2018.
Clayson echoed her call, saying trade materials were a “significant fraction” of overall waste produced and should be covered by at least the same recycling obligations as municipal collections.
“The setting up of recycling targets for commercial and industrial waste will emphasise the valuable resources that can be captured from this portion of the waste stream. It is important these targets are set up by the end of 2018 if they are to be met in 2025 and 2030.”
In Bonafe’s report, member states are also called on to include in their national prevention plans an objective that is at least equivalent to a reduction of food waste by 50% by 2030. It also calls for the mandatory separate collection of bio-waste by 2020.
Clayson supported these measures, adding that it was important to tackle the whole supply chain.
Meanwhile, the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment president Kristian Hall welcomed Bonafe’s emphasis on incentivising the use of renewable, bio-based sources in packaging materials.
“These legal measures are needed to secure investments in the production of innovative materials from renewable sources. This will support Europe’s access to resources and improve the environmental performance of packaging,” he said.
Robbie Staniforth ecosurety
Compliance firm Ecosurety’s commercial manager Robbie Staniforth (pictured left) said: “Defining recycling will go a long way to convincing the general public that placing waste in a receptacle marked for recycling means that it will actually be recycled, rather than incinerated for energy or worse.”
Anti-commingling lobby group UK Recyclate director Andy Moore said: “This looks like the victory for good sense we have been waiting for. Such a change, properly transposed into an amendment to the waste regulations, would surely have a simplifying effect on decisions regarding collection method.
”It would ensure a level of material quality suitable for UK mill feedstock, meaning that the material could really move in a virtuous circle manner and actually drive the circular economy.”