MEPs vote for 70% recycling rate and 30% resource efficiency target


The European Commission has been urged to adopt a 70% municipal recycling rate and 30% resource efficiency target by MEPs on the European Parliament Environment Committee.

Following the publication of a report that included recommendations on resource efficiency and moving towards a circular economy by MEP and rapporteur Sirpa Pietikäinen, MEPs on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI) voted in favour of adopting the report.


Now that the report has been passed, it will be used to generate a motion to be debated by the full European Parliament.

The report called for the introduction of a number of targets and indicators.

This included urging the European Commission to develop and introduce by 2019 a lead indicator and a number of sub-indicators on resource efficiency, including ecosystem devices. These binding indicators would measure resource consumption, including imports and exports, at EU, Member State and industry level to take account of the whole lifecycle of products and services.

It urged the Commission to set a binding target to increase resource efficiency at EU level by 30% by 2030 and individual targets for each Member State.

The new motion for the European Parliament will also urge the European Commission to propose a review of the Ecodesign Directive by the end of 2016 to make resource efficiency mandatory requirements for product design, including reuse and recyclability at the end of its life.

On zero waste, MEPs want the Commission to submit the announced review of waste legislation by the end of 2015 and to include the following points:

  • Setting extended producer responsibility requirements
  • Endorsing the ‘pay-as-you-throw’ principle prioritising separate collection schemes in order to facilitate the development of business based on the reuse of secondary raw materials
  • Increasing recycling targets to at least 70% of municipal solid waste based on the output of recycling facilities, using the same harmonised method for all Member States with externally verified statistics
  • Introducing a ban on landfilling recyclable and biodegradable waste by 2025 and a ban on landfilling by 2030
  • Introducing fees on landfilling and incineration.


MEPs also called on the Commission to promote a regulatory framework for urban mining in existing landfills and to develop an environmental permit system for the recycling industry based on self-monitoring and external auditing.

The report also suggested that the full implementation of the circular economy principles and requirements should be made in the building sector to develop resource efficiency in buildings.

This would involve developing indicators, standards and methods on land use and urban planning, architecture, structural engineering, construction, maintenance, adaptability, energy efficiency, renovation and reuse and recycling.

The Commission was also urged to propose compulsory green public procurement procedures that considers reused, repaired, remanufactured, refurbished and other resource efficient products and solutions are to be preferred.

Friends of the Earth resource use campaigner Ariadna Rodrigo said: “Today’s vote gives a strong signal to the Commission that the new circular economy package has to be genuinely ambitious. This means not taking the easy route and simply improving our management of waste close to home – we need concrete proposals to tackle the hard task of reducing our overall resource use.”

The current European Commission, led by Jean-Claude Juncker, withdrew the previous Circular Economy Package in December 2014, and has promised to replace it with a new more “ambitious” set of proposals by the end of the year.