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Circular Economy: S&Ds ensure common EU standards and goals for better waste management


18 Dec 2017


Agriculture & Food
Sustainable Dev.

Brussels, 18 December 2017

After 17 hours of tough negotiations last night, the Council and the European Parliament representatives finally reached an agreement. Despite strong opposition from some EU member states, the Parliament negotiator, S&D MEP Simona Bonafè, ensured that the Waste Package as proposed by the Commission would not be watered down.

Simona Bonafè said:

“It has been a very tough negotiation, and we risked that a minimum threshold of member states could reject the whole package, so for hours and hours we pushed for the best possible deal. We ensured a common EU target for recycling 65% of municipal waste; a common EU target for recycling 55% of plastic packaging waste by 2030 and a binding landfill target to reduce landfill to a maximum of 10% of municipal waste, all by 2035, that is to say, five years later than the original proposal.”

“However the most important achievement is the simplification and improvement of definitions and harmonised calculation methods for recycling rates. Right now, member states use different criteria and therefore it is very difficult to ensure compliance.

“The measures agreed on last night actually ignite a real transition towards a zero-waste circular economy that will benefit all: citizens, companies and also the environment. An ethical and sustainable economic model is possible, and it is our task as politicians to pave the way for it.

"The package includes a waste hierarchy, meaning that the main effort by member states should be placed in waste prevention. In fact, for the first time in any EU piece of legislation there is a mandatory obligation for a cut in food waste and marine litter, in line with the 50% reduction target of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This way we will cut down on the approximately 89 million tonnes of food waste that we in the EU produce every year, around 180 kg per person."

S&D vice-president on sustainability, Kathleen Van Brempt, said:

“The negotiators have reached a very delicate balance between ambitious targets and pragmatic flexibility for member states to adapt, because the situation in each EU country is very different.

“We welcome the fact that for the first time there will be a ceiling for landfilling. Right now over a quarter of municipal waste is put in landfill and less than half is recycled, so now member states will have the economic tools to discourage this practice.”

“Another important novelty is the introduction of a minimum mandatory requirement for extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes. Producers will have to take responsibility for collecting or taking back their already-used products, and also for sorting and treatment of their recycling.

"To reach a real circular economy, we should not only focus on the push factors and the waste stages of materials, but also on the up-cycling and re-manufacturing loop. Therefore the traditional waste polices have to be complemented by product and (re)manufacturing policies that preserve valuable high quality materials in closed loops, creating an EU wide market for high end recycling. These kind of market based production-oriented instruments should be part of the upcoming Plastics Strategy that the Commission will announce in January.

“We also expect the Commission to present its proposal for eco-design, so that we complete the legislation to move towards a sustainable and humane economy in which resources are not wasted.”




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