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MEPs call for waste policy overhaul

Members of the European Parliament have called on the European Commission to publish plans to ban landfill as part of a shake-up of waste disposal policy.

MEPs on the Environment Committee said cutting the use of landfill and incineration, and ramping up environmental taxation, would help drive resource efficiency and boost the EU’s competitiveness.

They also called on the Commission to revise the 2020 recycling targets set in the Waste Framework Directive and to ensure that by that year there was no incineration of waste that could be recycled or composted.

The MEPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of adopting the non-binding report outlining this measure; there were 48 votes in favour, 3 against and 5 abstentions.

It will now be put to a vote in the Parliament’s plenary session from 21 to 24 May .

Rapporteur Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy said: “Europe is addicted to cheap resources, and rising prices are the biggest threat to our industry. Instead of paying record prices for resources we should recycle and recover our valuable waste.”

He added that the Commission and Member States should come forward with plans to eliminate environmentally-harmful subsides by 2020.

“As well as harming the environment, these subsidies also hamper innovation.”

Gerbrandy will lead the Parliament delegation at the UN Rio+20 sustainable development summit in June.

Report highlights

The Commission should:

  • Make proposals by the end of 2014 to gradually phase-out landfill
  • Revise the 2020 recycling targets set in the Waste Framework Directive and ensure that by the end of the decade there is no incineration of waste that could be recycled or composted
  • Propose an update to the eco-design directive to include non-energy related products and to demand better durability, recyclability and reparability of goods

Member states should:

  • Increase the amount of environmental taxation. Incentives, such as reduced VAT on certain secondary materials, could also help to correct market failures and promote innovation
  • Do a better job of using and recycling resources to drive future economic growth and protect the environment


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