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Not bad, but can do better: leaked EU proposal on circular economy

Elements of the European Commission’s Circular Economy Package which were leaked last week provide the basis for advancing resource efficiency, but would fall short of building a circular economy in Europe.

The proposal is still being discussed in its interservice consultation stage, which is when different Commission departments can edit and comment on a proposal before it is officially launched.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) welcomes what is currently reported to be in the Commission’s proposal, which includes a 70% recycling rate for municipal solid waste, an 80% recycling target for packaging waste for 2030, and a ban on landfilling for all recyclable materials by 2025.

But the EEB regrets that a prevention target is only being considered for food waste, that no specific targets for re-use are being proposed, and that there is no limit set for incineration, all of which are measures the EEB called for [1],[2].

Piotr Barczak, the EEB’s Policy Officer for Waste, commented: “The Commission’s package is promising but still falls short of what is needed. You can‘t build a circular economy just by recycling more and more with our current production and consumption patterns. You also need to cut down on the waste you generate and the way to do that is through legally binding waste prevention targets.”

The EEB strongly supports the method being proposed by DG Environment of the European Commission to calculate rates of recycling. It is a major improvement on the reporting method currently used across the EU, which defines recycling levels as the amount of material that is sent to recycling facilities, without any consideration for the actual amount of material output that is recycled. As the proposal stands, the weight of recycled waste is defined as the weight of waste put into a final recycling process, minus the weight of any resulting waste which needs to undergo further backfilling, energy recovery or disposal.

Stephane Arditi, the EEB’s Policy Manager for Products and Waste, said: “This calculation is very important because it protects the best performers against easy, cheap and sub-standard treatment of waste that occurs both in and outside Europe. This is how we can ensure materials are recycled with the quality necessary to put them back into the economy.”

The European Commission has also proposed a binding target of 30% for resource efficiency by 2030, which will be based on the ratio of raw material consumption to GDP. This target is still too low to encourage Member States to improve their resource productivity.

ENDS

[1] The EEB recently published a report which outlined the benefits of an ambitious EU waste policy revision. See ‘Advancing Resource Efficiency in Europe’: http://bit.ly/1ebetOq.
[2] Several leading NGOs, including the EEB, published a statement detailing the ten steps the EU should take to make its waste policy more resource-efficient. See http://goo.gl/ccjoqV.

For further information please contact:
Sébastien Pant, EEB Communications Officer for Air Quality and Resource Efficiency, sebastien.pant@eeb.org, or on +32 2 289 1309
Piotr Barczak, EEB Waste Policy Officer, Piotr.barczak@eeb.org, or on +32 2 289 1097
Stéphane Arditi, EEB Waste and Products Policy Manager, Stephane.arditi@eeb.org, or on +32 2 289 10 97

Website : www.eeb.org
Twitter : https://twitter.com/Green_Europe

For more info, please contact:

Piotr BARCZAK

Policy Officer: Waste

+32 (0) 2289 10 97

 

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