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EP Approves Circular Economy Package

Household waste recycling installation.Household waste recycling installation.

The Circular Economy package, with recycling targets and other requirements, has been formally agreed on Wednesday by the European Parliament with only final approval needed by ministers before it becomes law.

And, even though the UK is to leave the European Union, the government has already said it is set to include the Circular Economy measures within EU policy, partly because they will have become EU law before the UK leaves, Politico.eu reported.

The figures agreed confirm developments in recent months and the main features of the package are:

- municipal waste recycling target: 55% by 2025, 65% by 2035

- no more than 10% landfilling by 2035

- separate collection of textiles and hazardous waste.

The text of the agreement, which has already been agreed with the EU Council of Ministers, is that by 2025, at least 55% of municipal waste (from households and businesses) should be recycled. The target will rise to 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035.

(Currently, the UK and local authorities are working to a 50% target by 2020 although this is not seen as being likely to be met by all authorities and senior local authority figures have pointed out that it is not legally imposed on them. And, with the UK leaving the EU, it appears unlikely that the UK would face punitive measures from Brussels should it miss the 50% target.)

The packaging waste element of the Circular Economy is important as it will put pressure on the UK’s packaging waste/PRN system to recover more material and so will have an impact on local authority services with packaging producers under pressure to help put more money towards local authority collections and publicity.

Under the EU package, 65% of packaging materials will have to be recycled by 2025, and 70% by 2030. Separate targets are set for specific packaging materials, such as paper and cardboard, plastics, glass, metal and wood.

A spokesman for the European Parliament explained that the draft law also limits the share of municipal waste being landfilled to a maximum of 10% by 2035.

“In 2014, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden sent virtually no municipal waste to landfill, whereas Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Latvia and Malta still landfill more than three quarters of their municipal waste.”

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