EU sets out recycling and landfill targets in Circular Economy Package

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Binding targets, as well as wide-ranging measures to support the transition to a circular economy announced by the European Commission

The European Union has proposed a number of long-term targets for landfilling and recycling, as part of the new Circular Economy Package, launched yesterday in Brussels.


By 2030, no more than 10% of municipal waste should go to landfill in the EU. In addition to this binding target, the new laws would include a total ban on the landfilling of waste which has already been separated and sorted for recycling.


The recycling and re-use of municipal waste must reach 65% in Europe by 2030, with a target of 75% set for the recycling of packaging waste. Specific targets for resource efficiency, plastics and food waste were left out, however the EU reiterated its pledge to meet the global Sustainable Development Goal of halving food waste by 2030.


Some countries, which have particularly low levels of recycling, would be granted an extra 5 years to meet their targets.


The targets require a large shift in EU waste management, where currently only around 40% of municipal waste is recycled, and 30% landfilled. A number of supporting measures were therefore announced, to advance the circular economy in each step of the value chain - from production to consumption, repair and remanufacturing, waste management, and secondary raw materials that are fed back into the economy. These activities will be supported with finance from the European Regional Development Fund, amounting to €5.5 billion, and €650 million in Horizon 2020 funding.


For more information read the new proposals for Directives on Waste, Packaging Waste, Landfill and Electronic Waste, and the Communication, ‘Closing the Loop – An EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy’, which describes the supporting activities.