At the end of the month February, the member states endorsed the agreement on four legislative proposals of the waste package reached with the European Parliament in December 2017. The waste package will lead to more recycling of waste and contribute to the creation of a cir- cular economy. It will improve the way waste is managed as well as encour- age the reuse of material embedded in waste.
The new rules establish legally bind- ing targets for waste recycling and the reduction of landfilling with fixed deadlines. These targets will increase the share of municipal waste packaging waste which is recycled, with specific targets for the recycling of materials used in packaging. The rules also include targets for reducing the amount of municipal waste which is landfilled.
Member states agreed to the following targets for the preparing for reuse and recycling of municipal waste:
By the year 2025: 55%
By the year 2030: 60%
By the year 2035: 65%.
Member states will have to set up, by January 2025, separate collection for hazardous waste from households. In addition, they have to ensure that by 31 December 2023, bio-waste is either collected separately or recycled at source.
This is in addition to the separate collection which already exists for paper and cardboard, glass, metals and plastic.
Specific targets for packaging will encourage the use of recyclable packaging and reusable packaging.
This package also establishes minimum requirements for all extended producer responsibility schemes. Producer of products under these schemes must bear responsibility for the management of the waste stage of their products. Pro- ducers will be required to pay a financial contribution for that purpose. In addition, mandatory extended producer respon- sibility schemes for all packaging have also been introduced in the European Union legislation.
Landfilling of waste leads to pollution of surface water, groundwater, soil and air. Therefore, the legislation also contains a specific landfill reduction target. Member states shall endeavor to ensure that as of 2030, all waste suitable for recycling or other recovery, in particular in municipal waste, shall not be accepted in a landfill. The only exception con- cerns waste for which landfilling delivers the best environ- mental outcome. In addition, member states will ensure that by the year 2035 the amount of municipal waste landfilled is reduced to 10% or less of the total amount of municipal waste generated.
Overall, member states consider that these wide targets will create the minimum scale for EU industry to invest in new recycling techniques and technology.
The revised legislation addresses environmental problems with transnational implications including the impacts of inappropriate waste management of greenhouse gas emis- sions, air pollution and littering, including in the marine environment. It ensures that valuable material embedded in waste is effectively re-used, recycled and re-injected into the European economy, and thereby helps to move towards a circular economy where waste is progressively used as resource and new economic opportunities are created. It aims at reducing the EU’s dependence on the import of raw materials by promoting the prudent efficient and rational use of natural resources.
The proposed legislation will now be submitted to a vote at a next plenary session of the European Parliament and then to the EU Council for final adoption.
The adopted text will enter into force twenty days after the publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.