MEPs propose mixed bag of waste laws

24 January 2017

MEPs on the European Parliament's Environment Committee today voted through a mixed bag of plans aimed at cutting resource use and waste across the EU. 

The Committee's vote largely improved a series of weak proposals made by the European Commission as part of its 2015 Circular Economy Package. However, improvements to recycling targets and measures to reduce landfill and incineration were offset by some missed opportunities to tackle food waste and slash the overall quantity of waste we produce.

Meadhbh Bolger, resource justice campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "Today's vote gives a strong signal to the Commission that lost ambition to cut European resource use needs to be restored. It is now up to the whole Parliament to step up to the plate and keep these raised recycling targets and measures to prevent waste and incineration, and for the Council to raise the ambition even higher".

The Environment Committee voted to:

  • Raise the recycling target to 70% by 2030 (up from the Commission's proposed 65% target) and introduce a separate 2030 target for preparing waste for reuse of 5%
  • Introduce mandatory separate collection of biowaste, textiles and waste oils
  • Amend the EU Landfill Directive with proposals to limit incineration overcapacity and prevent a shift from landfilling to incineration
  • Propose an extensive list of economic instruments for Member States to use to tackle waste prevention. However, it missed the opportunity to pass binding targets to limit the quantity of waste sent to landfill and incineration
  • Pass a weak, non-binding target to reduce food waste, accompanied by an ambiguous definition which does not cover all food wasted

The European Parliament as a whole will vote on today's draft resolution in March. Environment Ministers from across the EU Member States are holding ongoing discussions, and are likely to come to a final opinion on the waste laws later this year.