The UK will have to prevent a significant amount of waste from going to landfill under new EU proposals.
The European Commission wants to see 70% of household rubbish and 80% of packaging waste recycled by 2030. It is also proposing to ban recyclable waste being sent to landfill by 2025.
Figures released by DECC in November last year however revealed only 43.2% of waste was recycled in England in 2012-13.
The proposals are part of the Commission’s plans to turn Europe into a “circular economy”, described as an alternative to the traditional approach of “taking, making, consuming and disposing” resources.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “If we want to compete, we have to get the most out of our resources and that means recycling them back into productive use, not burying them in landfills as waste.”
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) believes the proposals “may have underplayed the potential costs” to businesses, homes and local authorities.
A spokesperson added: “While we support efforts to reduce waste, we need to ensure that any new legislation would meet our priorities to protect the environment, incentivise growth and avoid unnecessary burdens.”
The new plans build on existing regulations that require councils around the UK to recycle half their waste by 2020.