The circular economy speeds up. The plenary assembly of the European Parliament gave the green light for a more ambitious version of the waste package proposed by the EU Commission. MEPs overwhelmingly voted more advanced targets to 2030 (with interim targets for each material in 2025) an increased target of 70% for municipal waste recycling (against the 65% required by Brussels) and 80% for packaging (previously 75%); reduction to 5% of the waste that can be accepted at a landfill (against 10%); 50% food waste cut (30% for 2025). Estimated food waste in the EU is 89 million tonnes, or 180 kg per capita per year.
Although waste management in the EU has improved considerably in recent decades, almost one third of municipal waste is disposed of in landfills and less than half is recycled or composted; with wide variations between Member States. In 2014, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden sent virtually no urban waste to landfills, while Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Latvia and Malta still disposed of more than three-quarters of their municipal waste at landfills.
A data that will show the direction of travel is the recycling, composting or preparation for re-use of barely 31% of waste produced in the European Union in 2004. Today we have risen to 44% and in just over a decade we expect to reach 70% (or 65% if the Commission's view will prevail).
The text will now be negotiated with the EU Council of Ministers. However, the road has been paved, and the degree of uncertainty is reduced to a few percentage points.