Environmental Industries Commission calls for post-Brexit recycling targets


A national debate on recycling targets for 2025 should take place, according to the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC).

EIC would like to see a framework created for post-Brexit and is suggested in its briefing paper Brexit Implications for the Waste and Resources Sector.


Its executive director Matthew Farrow said: “The complex layers of EU waste law established over 40 years have transformed waste management and recycling in the UK, helping us get from bottom of the league to mid-table. Post-Brexit the Government must resist making significant changes to regulations as this will undermine what has been achieved.

“But there are areas where new thinking is required. It is not clear that the UK will meet the EU 2020 50% recycling target and Commission will no longer be able to sanction the UK for not achieving it. 

“While the EU is considering a one-size fits all target for the remaining EU countries for 2030, the UK should consider setting a 2025 target that is ambitious but realistic in a UK context. Such a target if set with industry and cross-party support would provide an investment framework for the industry to drive UK progress towards a circular economy.”


Other recommendations made in the report include:

  • Copy EU Ecodesign regulations that emerge from the Circular Economy package
  • Incorporate circular economy approaches in the sector plans to be developed under the new Industrial Strategy
  • Review the Separate Collection provisions of the revised Waste Framework Directive to ensure a pragmatic approach
  • Encourage regulatory commonality between the devolved nations even while targets and initiatives may diverge
  • Recognise the need for Best Overall Environmental Option (BOEO) to be considered alongside the waste hierarchy
  • Retention of the EU definition of waste to avoid prolonged uncertainty.