EU-wide recycling and reuse targets are another step closer to becoming law as MEPs voted to adopt amendments to the European Waste Framework Directive today.
However, some MEPs said that targets of 50% household recycling and 70% recycling of construction and demolition waste by 2020 were too weak.
A divisive amendment to reclassify efficient incineration as recovery was also added, despite opposition from doctors and environmentalists (see MRW story). Directive rapporteur Caroline Jackson emphasised the inclusion of recycling targets and waste prevention in the Directive and said: The incineration of residual waste will have to go hand in hand with recycling.
Member states will also have to treat the five-stage waste hierarchy as a priority order rather than a guiding principle, starting with prevention, reuse, recycling, other recovery options and then disposal.
As well as tougher recycling targets, some MEPs wanted to include binding national waste prevention targets. But Jackson said: It has been a long and tortuous road to this second reading. There was much resistance to what we wanted to do and the Council drove a very hard bargain. That is the best deal available. Anyone who thinks that we could get anything better by going to conciliation would be deceiving themselves."
Waste prevention across the EU was reinforced as the Directive requires waste management plans and goal-led prevention programmes to be established five years after the Directive comes into force. This agreement also includes a new article on waste prevention, which proposes setting waste prevention and decoupling objectives by 2014 for 2020.
A final vote to make the Directive law is expected in the next two weeks before the end of the Slovenian Presidency of the EU.