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EC unveils 70% recycling target and landfill ban proposals

The European Commission has released the details of its much-anticipated set of measures to boost the transition to a more circular economy, proposing higher recycling targets and landfill bans.

The policy package will now pass to the Council and the European Parliament. It is part of a review of the Waste Framework, Landfill, Packaging and Packaging Waste directives and looks beyond the current 2020 targets.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “Moving to a circular economy is not only possible, it is profitable, but that does not mean it will happen without the right policies. The 2030 targets that we propose are about taking action today to accelerate the transition to a circular economy and exploiting the business and job opportunities it offers.”

As has been widely anticipated, the proposals include:

  • Recycling and preparing for reuse 70% of municipal waste by 2030  
  • Recycling and preparing for reuse 80% of packaging waste by 2030
  • Material-specific targets for packaging waste that will gradually increase between 2020 and 2030 to reach 90% for paper and cardboard by the end of 2025 and 60% for plastics, 80% for wood, 90% of ferrous metal, aluminium and glass by the end of 2030
  • Ban on landfilling recyclable waste (including plastics, paper, metals, glass and biodegradable waste) by 2025, and calling on the Commission to consider further phasing out of landfilling of recoverable waste by 2030
  • A non-binding target of reducing food waste by 30% by 2025

The package also contains measures to simplify member states’ reporting obligations and alleviate the administrative burden on SMEs involved in waste management, as well as aligning waste definitions and removing “obsolete legal requirements”.

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