A senior official at the European Commission has said the revised circular economy (CE) package will be better adapted to the individual needs of member states.
Proposals that follow the current consultation would take the recycling performance of each country into account, said Kęstutis Sadauskas, left, director of the green economy in the European Commission’s environment department.
“We need ambitious recycling targets to guide long-term investments in waste collection, sorting and recycling installations,” he said. “Most stakeholders press the need for political predictability and argue that long-term recycling targets provide clarity and certainty for their investments.”
Sadauskas was speaking at the Policy Forum for Waste seminar in Cardiff. He said the CE package would bring a significant economic boost for committed countries while those that currently rely on landfill and recycle little will gain “major economic benefits in jobs and wealth creation”.
It is estimated the package could bring net savings of €600bn (£440bn) for the whole of Europe, representing 8% of annual turnover for all EU businesses, in addition to a 24% reduction in annual greenhouse emissions.
“Environmental challenges are extremely pressing, raw material markets are experiencing significant tensions globally and this can only worsen in the future.
“Transformation to a CE is imperative; it aims to keep the value of materials and products for as long as possible,” he added.
Sadauskas said that while landfill remained an option and fees were low in many countries, there would be strong pressure for waste to be disposed of in this manner.
But a landfill ban was not the only option to boost recycling.
“Economic instruments can be equally as effective. We should let the member states decide which tool they want to choose as long as landfilling is irrevocably decreasing,” said Sadauskas.
He also said that the revised proposals will motivate manufacturers to consider reuse and material reclamation in the product design phase.
- In May, the European Commission launched an online public consultation which will remain open until 20 August.