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New EU waste targets for 2030

At the core of its Circular Economy package announced last week, the European Commission has confirmed on the 2nd July that it wants the EU to recycle 70% of all municipal waste by 2030 and ban landfilling of recyclable materials including plastics, paper, metals, glass and biodegradable waste by 2025.

This includes specific recycling targets for packaging waste to be increased to 80%, with targets for plastics reaching 60%, wood 80% and ferrous metal, aluminium and glass 90% by the end of 2030. Meanwhile, a 90% target for paper and cardboard needs to be met by the end of 2025. The proposal, which is the mainstay of the Commission’s circular economy package, also sets an “aspirational” target of 30% for food waste by 2025.


The main elements of the proposal include:

  • Recycling and preparing for re-use of municipal waste to be increased to 70 % by 2030; 
  • Recycling and preparing for re-use of packaging waste to be increased to 80 % by 2030, with material-specific targets set to gradually increase between 2020 and 2030 (to reach 90 % for paper by 2025 and 60% for plastics, 80% for wood, 90% of ferrous metal, aluminium and glass by the end of 2030);
  • Phasing out landfilling by 2025 for recyclable (including plastics, paper, metals, glass and bio-waste) waste in non-hazardous waste landfills – corresponding to a maximum landfilling rate of 25%;
  • Measures aimed at reducing food waste generation by 30 % by 2025;
  • Introducing an early warning system to anticipate and avoid possible compliance difficulties in Member States;
  • Promoting the dissemination of best practices in all Member States, such as better use of economic instruments (e.g. landfill/incineration taxes, pay-as-you-throw schemes, incentives for municipalities) and improved separate collection;
  • Improving traceability of hazardous waste;
  • Increasing the cost-effectiveness of Extended Producer Responsibility schemes by defining minimum conditions for their operation;
  • Simplifying reporting obligations and alleviating burdens faced by SMEs;
  • Improving the reliability of key statistics through harmonised and streamlined calculation of targets;
  • Improving the overall coherence of waste legislation by aligning definitions and removing obsolete legal requirements.

The Commission anticipates that the new measures can create more than 180 000 direct jobs in the EU by 2030, in addition to the estimated 400 000 jobs that will be created by the full implementation of the waste legislation in force.


Issue 35