The European Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) approved its revised legislative proposals on waste, setting out its position on the Commission’s Circular Economy Package which was published at the end of 2015.

The Package aims to implement measures that turn waste into a resource following a circular – rather than a linear – economic model based on sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling.

During today’s vote, MEPs agreed on amendments to six existing directives on waste, with measures that are more ambitious than the Commission’s proposals. These include minimum targets to be fulfilled by 2030 for recycling of municipal waste (70 per cent); recycling of packaging materials (80 per cent); reduction of food waste (50 per cent) and reduction of marine litter (50 per cent). Moreover member states shall take the necessary measures to ensure that by 2030 the amount of municipal waste landfilled is reduced to five per cent of the total amount of municipal waste generated.

GUE/NGL Shadow Rapporteur for the file, MEP Josu Juaristi, was satisfied with the final outcome but cautioned on municipal solid waste incineration:

“I welcome the renewed ambition on recycling targets and landfill disposal targets, but the proposals should not mean a shift towards energy recovery and incineration.”

“According to the approved text, waste operators and member states should avoid investments that are incompatible with the long-term targets set out in the Landfill and Waste Framework Directives. EU Funds should therefore not be used to finance energy-inefficient infrastructure,” Juaristi urged. 

“Incineration practices are not only environmentally harmful – as they emit greenhouse gases – but the dioxins produced have been proven to cause certain types of cancers. That is why we need limits to incineration of municipal waste as well as new ambitious reuse and recycling targets.”

The Basque MEP also lauded the decision to impose binding requirements on member states for collection and recycling of biological waste.

Czech MEP, Kateřina Konečná, agreed that the outcome of the Committee vote was very positive:

“The proposals approved today on the Circular Economy Package go even further than the Commission's proposals. We want a clean and healthy environment across Europe with tougher measures on reducing, reusing and recycling waste.”

“The adopted legislation is progressive in its approach, addressing microplastics and their release into the marine environment, as well as ecodesign, as the right way to ensure a true circular economy,” Konečná concluded.

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