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EU agreement will ‘strengthen Europe’s waste hierarchy’

Europe – The European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission have reached a political agreement on revising EU waste processing legislation that ‘will strengthen Europe’s waste hierarchy by placing prevention, reuse and recycling clearly above landfilling and incineration’, according to Karmenu Vella, the European commissioner in charge of environment, maritime affairs and fisheries.

‘The Commission is happy to have pushed the European Parliament and member states to agree on reducing landfill and includes specific targets for recycling packaging materials,’ he explains. ‘The 2030 target for plastic packaging will contribute to reducing marine pollution and to achieving Europe’s commitments under the UN Sustainable Development Goals.’

Although some of the details have yet to emerge, a 2025 target of 55% municipal waste recycling is envisaged, to be followed by 60% for 2030 and 65% for 2035. Originally, the target had been 65% as early as 2030.

Among the responses to this latest development, the European steel association Eurofer describes it as ‘a step forward because it proposes a methodology measuring recycling rates when waste materials are reprocessed into new products’. However, the organisation’s director general Axel Eggert says the proposal ‘only goes part of the way towards accurate, harmonised measurement of real recycling because a derogation allows member states to declare material as ”recycled” even after an early waste sorting stage. This will give vastly different results than measuring recycling at the stage of reprocessing into new products.’

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