circular economy

Agreement on circular economy proposals

The UK needs to re-evaluate its waste policy after leaving the EU, according to a new report published by two top government scientists.

The European Council and the European Parliament have agreed key elements of the circular economy (CE) package, including binding waste reduction targets and improved recycling and reuse.

Provisional agreement on all four legislative proposals of the waste package was reported in the early hours by the Estonian presidency. Endorsement by the Council is expected in the first quarter of next year.

“With this agreement, member states are committing to clear EU targets on reuse, recycling and landfilling and rules to improve the management of different waste streams,” said Estonian environment minister Siim Kiisler.

“I hope the member states can now endorse this well-balanced and thoroughly negotiated compromise.”

The deal comes two years after the European Commission published its revised CE package. It is expected that these directives will apply to the UK as part of the Brexit process but it is not clear how they with be transposed.

The agreed proposals establish binding waste reduction targets and update rules to decrease waste generation, ensure a better control of waste management, encourage the reuse of products and improve recycling in all member states.

They amend six pieces of legislation:

  • Waste Framework Directive (the umbrella legislative act of the package)
  • Packaging Waste Directive
  • Landfill Directive
  • Directives on WEEE, end-of-life vehicles, batteries and accumulators, and waste batteries and accumulators

Key elements of the agreed text include:

  • clearer definitions of key waste concepts
  • new binding targets at EU level for waste reduction to be met by 2025, 2030 and 2035. These targets cover the share of municipal waste and packaging waste recycling (with specific targets for various packaging materials), and also a target for municipal waste landfilled by 2035
  • stricter methods and rules to calculate the progress made towards those targets
  • stricter requirements for the separate collection of waste, reinforced implementation of the waste hierarchy through economic instruments and additional measures for member states to prevent waste generation
  • minimum requirements for extended producer responsibility schemes; producers will be required to pay a financial contribution for that purpose calculated on the basis of the treatment costs

Reference: Recycling & Waste World


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