The European Commission has unveiled a new draft package which aims to make Europe more resource efficient, with watered-down waste targets.
Proposals under the ‘Circular Economy Package’ include a target for recycling 65% of municipal waste, 75% of packaging waste and reducing landfill waste to a maximum of 10% by 2030 across all Member States.
However they are weaker than those previously proposed which included recycling 70% of municipal waste, 80% of packaging waste and a total ban on landfill for all waste that could be recoverable and reusable during the same period.
The new package also includes a requirement for all Member States to take measures to reduce food waste, including a common measurement methodology and improved date marking to meet the global Sustainable Development Goal to halve food waste by 2030.
However no specific targets for Member States have been set out.
According to the Commission, the new “ambitious” goals are expected to help European businesses and consumers transition towards to a “stronger and circular economy” where resources are used in a more sustainable way.
“The plans will extract the maximum value and use from all raw materials, products and waste, fostering energy savings and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” it added
First Vice President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said the planet and economy cannot survive “if we continue with the ‘take, make, use and throw away’ approach”.
He added: “The circular economy is about reducing waste and protecting the environment but it is also about a profound transformation of the way our entire economy works. By rethinking the way we produce, work and buy we can generate new opportunities and create new jobs.
“With today’s package, we are delivering the comprehensive framework that will truly enable this change to happen. It sets a credible and ambitious path for better waste management in Europe with supportive actions that cover the full product cycle. This mix of smart regulation and incentives at EU level will help businesses and consumers, as well as national and local authorities, to drive this transformation.
The average European is said to consume 14 tonnes of raw materials and generate five tonnes of waste a year.