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Ambition of revised Circular Economy package concerns MEPS

On Wednesday (2nd December) the European Commission will publish its eagerly awaited Circular Economy package.  According to sources in Brussels, the main difference from the original package that was later withdrawn, put forward by the last Commission, and this new will be the level of ambition in the binding targets it contains.  The objective of the package is to stimulate the shift to an economy where as little as possible is wasted in a world with finite resources and a booming population. It is expected that the package to be agreed on Wednesday will instead include lower targets for the recycling and reuse of municipal waste by 2030. The package is expected to cover “targeted action” in food, construction, industrial, mining waste, and public procurement as well as fresh legislation on waste, fertilisers, and water reuse, Eco-design, plastics, chemicals, and “significant” funding for innovation will also feature.

Special exceptions may well figure to allow some member states, including Estonia, Greece, Croatia, Latvia, Malta, Romania and Slovakia, an extra five years achieve their targets in recognition of the differing levels of development across Europe and the difficulty a number of member states are facing with existing targets. For example, Denmark and the Netherlands landfill less than 3% of their municipal waste, whereas in Romania sends 99% of its municipal waste to landfill.

Instead of introducing a ban on the landfill of recyclable materials by 2025, this new proposal would seek to incentivise member states to take advantage of waste streams in order to reach their renewable energy targets

The package is also expected to:-

  • Drop legally binding reuse and recycling targets for resource efficiency;

  • Exclude separate collection of biowaste by 2025;

  • Reduce municipal waste recycling targets from 70% to 65%;

  • Remove the target for reducing food waste by 30% between 2017 and 2025 and instead rely on a requirement to monitor and assess waste prevention measures;

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans told MEPS earlier in the year that the new package would be “more ambitious” than the original one after ditching it in the 2015 Commission workprogramme but MEPs are suspicious. The draft circular economy package is though still being tweaked in advance of its adoption by the Commission college on Wednesday 2nd December. The proposals will be attached here following the College meeting.


Issue 46