Higher recycling targets have been adopted by the European Commission in order to drive transition to a circular economy.
The proposals will see an 80 per cent packaging waste target by 2030 introduced as well as a 70 per cent municipal waste target.
Recyclable waste will also be banned from landfill by 2025, while targets for reducing marine litter and food waste will also be introduced.
European Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik (pictured) said: “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.”
As a result of these measures, the European Commission believes that 580,000 new jobs could be created.
Greater efficiency will be driven by innovative design, better performing and more durable products and production processes, forward-looking business models and technical advances to turn waste into a resource.
Under the proposals, it is suggested that resource productivity should be measured on the basis of GDP/Raw Material Consumption, and that an improvement of 30 per cent by 2030 could be considered as a headline target in the forthcoming review of the Europe 2020 strategy.
These initiatives are adopted along with ideas around green employment, a green action plan for SMEs and resource efficiency opportunities in the building sector.
The legislative proposals will now pass to the European Council and the European Parliament.
Research and innovation efforts in the area of the circular economy will be stepped-up and the policy framework developed further.