The European Parliament (EP) wants waste production levels to be stabilised at 2008 levels by 2012 and for it to start declining by 2020. By 2020 it also wants to see 50% of municipal waste and 70% of industrial waste recycled.
By a majority of 651 votes to 19, with 16 abstentions, the EP adopted Caroline Jacksons proposals for a revised EU Waste Framework Directive, which would succeed the 1975 Waste Framework Directive. This could shape the next 50 years of EU policy on waste management.
It is no good the EU being a world leader in waste terminology if it continues to be a world leader in waste generation. I am delighted that the Parliament adopted my report by such a large margin, Jackson said.
The votes mean the principle of a five-stage waste hierarchy, which orders methods of treatment in terms of environmental preference, will be laid down in a piece of draft EU legislation for the first time. MEPs agreed that deviations from the hierarchy should only be allowed when backed by established and publicly available scientific criteria.
However, the controversial European Commission proposal to classify incinerators that met a certain energy efficiency criteria as recovery rather than disposal was rejected by MEPs.
Differing views resulted in MEPs backing the energy efficiency principle by laying down a scale of standards for incinerators, but they disagreed on the precise energy efficiency formula to be applied.
MEPs also adopted a non-binding thematic strategy for waste which aims to ban the landfill of paper, glass, textiles, plastic and metal by 2015 and ensure that no recyclable waste is landfilled by 2020.
EU member states now need to agree a common position on the revised directive. If the European Council and Parliament can agree on the final text of the directive by the end of 2007, the directive would come into effect in late 2009.