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Europe eyes stronger stance on plastics waste

The European Parliament has moved towards tougher measures on plastics waste, including imposing a landfill ban and binding recycling targets.

On 14 January, MEPs voted in favour of the recommendations contained in a report produced by Italian rapporteur Vittorio Prodi (file left).

The proposals include phasing out the landfilling of plastic waste by 2020 and of single-use plastics bags by “whenever possible”.

The report also suggested the adoption of a binding target to collect up to 80% of plastics waste for recycling and discouraged sending it to incineration.

The resolution followed a consultation on a European Commission green paper carried out in March 2013, which indicated that the current EU legislation was not sufficient to deal with the challenges of plastic waste.

“Parliament has shown the way to deal with the huge problem of the detrimental impact of plastic waste on the environment and human health,” said Prodi.

“By putting these products to good use and recycling them as much as possible, we close the loop and give effect to the concept of a ‘circular’ economy,” he added.

European plastics trade body Plastics Europe said the adoption of the Prodi’s report fitted in with their vision of sending zero waste to landfill by 2020.

“Plastics are a too valuable resource to be carelessly discarded or buried in landfills,” said Karl Foerster, executive director of PlasticsEurope. “As such we call for a strong enforcement of the current EU waste legislation to reduce to zero the amount of recyclable and high-calorific waste going to landfill.”

“Energy recovery is presented as a complementary option for those plastics that cannot be sustainably recycled as plastics waste is not a homogeneous material,” he added.

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