EU targets 65 percent recycling of household waste by 2030 under revised plan

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 02, 2015 11:53 AM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union aims to ensure that 65 percent of household waste is recycled by 2030, up from less than half currently, under revised new waste management rules proposed on Wednesday.

The European Commission is seeking to reduce the amounts of metals, plastic, food and other biomatter that end up in landfills or pollute the oceans.

The 65 percent target was less than 70 percent in an initial proposal last year, and the Commission said it was a more "realistic" target for EU member governments to meet.

The revised plan specifically targets plastics, 50 percent of which litter landfills and oceans where they endanger marine life, the Commission said.

It proposes a minimum threshold for waste water re-use across the 28-member bloc. It also plans to limit how much household waste can go to landfills to 10 percent by 2030 - allowing for 25 percent of waste to end up in energy-intensive incineration.

On food, it will look for a common way to measure food waste across the bloc and review date-marking on labels, which it says urge consumers to throw away food too soon.

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said the proposals, which include investment and regulatory strategies to make it easier to repair, re-use and recycle everything from electrical appliances to building rubble, were a step toward "reinventing the European economy".

"We need to decouple economic growth from resource consumption," Timmermans told a news conference in Brussels.

Environmental groups, however, were disappointed with the new targets.

"The addition of some nice initiatives does not offset the fact that the legally binding core of the package, notably the waste targets, is weaker than in last year's proposal," Stéphane Arditi of the European Environmental Bureau said in a statement.

Seven member-states - Estonia, Croatia, Latvia, Malta, Romania and Slovakia - have been offered an extra five years until 2025 to comply with existing 2008 rules for better waste management.

The seven currently lag far behind targets, recycling less than 20 percent of municipal rubbish in 2013, Eurostat data shows.

Overall across the bloc, 43 percent of waste on average was recycled in 2013, 31 percent went to landfills and 26 percent was incinerated, Commission data showed.

Among the proposals, which the Commission said would create jobs by expanding the recycling sector, are strategies to improve data and quality control of recycled raw materials such as plastics and metals, known as "secondary raw materials".

(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Susan Fenton)