July 9th, 2018
New legislation on waste has been adopted by EU leaders calling for stricter recycling targets.
After seven months of negotiations, the EU last week officially approved new laws to fight waste and increase recycling levels in all member state.
The new law set higher targets for recycling and new measures to manage waste that member states will have 24monthsh to bring into national legislation.
The targets requires countries to reach at least 55 per cent recycling rates by 2025 and increase this to 65 per cent by 2035.
The target is less ambitious that the one proposal by European Parliament in the Circular Economy Package which put the targets for municipal waste recycling at 65 per cent and for packaging recycling at 75 per cent by 2030.
The Circular Economy Package adopted in 2015, also proposed measures to reduce landfill to maximum 10 per cent of municipal waste by 2030. The Package proposed the ban on landfills for separately collected waste and the promotion of economic instruments to discourage landfills.
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Piotr Barczak, waste policy officer at European Environmental Bureau (EEB) said that after years of talking it is time to put words in actions and start tackling “the world’s most pressing issue”- pollution.
“The new laws could have been more ambitious, but their successful implementation will help governments consolidate this progress with benefits for the people and society as a whole,” Mr Barczak added.
The new law also calls for a 10 per cent cap on waste going to landfill by 2035. Mr Barczak, said, however, that without similar restrictions on the amount of waste being burned, some member states will now “shift to incineration rather than recycling and reuse”.
According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Ireland is currently meeting its recycling targets, but it will struggle to meet targets set by the EU.
According to the EPA, almost 70 per cent of waste packaging was recycled in 2015 in Ireland. The number exceeds the targets set by new Europe’s waste law; however, Ireland would have failed to reach the targets proposed by the Circular Economy Package.