EC calls for significant increase in recycling levels

European Commission calls for 70 percent recycling rate by 2030.

July 3, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations Plastics

The European Commission (EC) has adopted proposals that seek to strengthen the recycling rate of EC’s member countries by calling for a 70 percent recycling rate for municipal waste and 80 percent recycling rate for packaging by 2030. Additionally, the EC has called for a ban on the landfilling of recyclables

The European Plastics Recyclers (PRE) have released a statement applauding the EC’s proposal.

“The changes put forward by the Commission will enable a shift from linear to circular economy for plastics,” says Ton Emans, PRE President. “Unlocking a circular economy will safeguard Europe’s economies by easing our dependency on imported raw materials.”

In the statement, the PRE also notes that a stronger push for quality recycling is needed, and calls on stakeholders to support the proposal.

“The quality of recycled plastics depends on the quality of collection and sorting,” said Emans. “Therefore, stricter requirements on separate collection and high quality sorting are needed in order to reach high quality recycling.”

In calling for greater recycling levels, the EC says it is looking to create a new vision for its member states, from a throw-away culture to a circular economy that looks at re-use, repairing and recycling becoming the norm.

Keeping materials in productive use for a longer period of time, reusing them, and, with improved efficiency, would also improve EU competitiveness on the global stage. This approach is set out in a communication that explains how innovation in markets for recycled materials, new business models, eco-design and industrial symbiosis can move the EC towards a zero-waste economy.

In announcing the target, the EC’s Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik says, "We are living with linear economic systems inherited from the 19th Century in the 21st Century world of emerging economies, millions of new middle class consumers and inter-connected markets. If we want to compete we have to get the most out of our resources, and that means recycling them back into productive use, not burying them in landfills as waste.

Moving to a circular economy is not only possible, it is profitable, but that does not mean it will happen without the right policies. The 2030 targets that we propose are about taking action today to accelerate the transition to a circular economy and exploiting the business and job opportunities it offers."

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn says, "Research and innovation are the keys to success for the circular economy, which is why we are proposing a joined-up approach. Alongside a supportive regulatory framework, our new Horizon 2020 program will contribute the know-how necessary to shape a resource-efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy in the EU."

The legislative proposals will now pass to the Council and the European Parliament.