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EU recycling targets 'needed to drive investment'

The European Commission has outlined the key messages from industry stakeholders to be included in its revised circular economy (CE) package, including recycling targets covering the entire waste hierachy.

More than 700 politicians, business people and academics discussed potential policies at the Commission’s consultation in Brussels on 25 June.

Now the Commission has issued a summary of the key messages raised at each of the six split group sessions of the consultation. These will be incorporated into its proposals, set for release this Autumn.

A spokesperson said: “The feedback from the audience received in the plenary debates and through the six thematic split-up sessions will be used to shape the new and more ambitious CE package and feed into the public consultation. The package is expected to be adopted by the end of this year.”

The waste-focused group concluded that recycling targets are needed for legal certainty and to drive investment. It said these should cover the whole hierarchy and include more waste streams such as food, industrial and commercial. Other key messages were:

  • Landfill restriction measures needed while avoiding the creation of local over-capacities
  • Implementation/enforcement is key. Harmonised definitions/standards, improved statistics, traceability are needed. Separate collection is essential as well as supporting measures (public procurement, better design, awareness)
  • Economic instruments are helping (green taxes, incentives, PAYT). Clear rules needed for extended producer responsibility

The group focused on markets for secondary raw materials, recognised that regulatory obstacles were often sector-specific, with unclear waste definitions and called for harmonised quality standards. The other messages were:

  • Value chain co-operation/agreements, involving policy-makers: matching demand and supply needs, providing online information about presence of recyclable materials in products (stocks and flows), and establishing transparent EPR schemes
  • E-procedures by member states needed to facilitate shipment of waste and materials and to improve traceability

Other groups with recommended messages focused on production phase, consumption phase, materials and chemicals and research, innovation and investment.

Two public consultations are currently running to feed into the Commission’s revised CE package, with one specifically focused on waste markets.

The original package, dropped last December, included recycling targets of 70% for municipal waste and 80% for packaging by 2030.

MEPs are currently discussing the European Parliament’s Resource Efficiency: moving towards a circular economy report, which calls on the Commission to propose a binding target to increase resource efficiency by 30% by 2030, as well as individual targets for each member state.


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