MEPs back higher recycling targets, but opt against resource productivity target


A vote in the European Parliament has seen MEPs opt for legally binding recycling targets.

In the current plenary session, MEPs backed proposals put forward by its Environment Committee to have binding recycling targets of 70% for municipal solid waste and 80% for packaging waste by 2030.


A total of 394 MEPs voted in favour of the resolution put to the Parliament, with 197 against and 82 abstentions.

The resolution also called for measures to reduce incineration of non-recyclable waste after 2020, and the removal of subsidies for incineration technologies.

However, MEPs opted not to include a proposal from the Environment committee for a binding 30% resource productivity, but opted for the target to be voluntary.

Lead MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen said: “This is a paradigm shift, a systemic change that we are facing, as well as a huge, hidden, business opportunity.

“It can be created only by helping a new business ecosystem to emerge.

“But to make this happen, we need legislative, informative, economic and cooperative actions. First, we need a set of indicators and targets.

“We need a review of existing legislation, as it fails to incorporate the value of ecosystem services.

“We need a broadening of the scope of the ecodesign directive, a renewal of the waste directive, and a special focus on certain areas like sustainable buildings.”

The resolution is a response by the Parliament to the withdrawal of the previous circular economy package.

It calls on the European Commission in its upcoming new proposals on the circular economy to propose the binding waste reduction targets by the end of the year as well as a gradual reduction in landfill.

MEPs also urged the Commission to promote a lifecycle approach to product policy and ecodesign with an ambitious work programme.

This should include reviewing ecodesign legislation by the end of 2016 with a view to broadening its scope and covering all product groups.

MEPs also asked the Commission to define requirements for criteria such as durability, reparability, reusability, and recyclability and to draw up measures to eliminate planned obsolescence.

Friends of the Earth Europe resource use campaigner Ariadna Rodrigo said: “The Parliament has provided the baseline which the new circular economy package must live up to.

“True ‘ambition’ means not just dealing with waste and recycling, but taking concrete steps to address the fundamental problem of resource consumption in the EU.

“The next step must be to set binding resource reduction targets, but measuring what we consume is a strong start.”

Later this year, the European Commission will publish its new circular economy package, which it has promised will be more ambitious than the previous one.