Europen Parliament

The European Commission’s decision to axe the circular economy package was confirmed recently, despite objections by EU Parliament and national environment ministers. Legal procedures to officially bin the legislation should be completed in the coming months.

The circular economy package included a 70% recycling or reuse target for municipal waste by 2030, and to ban recyclable materials such as plastics, paper, metals, glass and biodegradable waste to landfill by 2025.

FEAD vice-president Peter Kurth: “The envisaged targets on waste, recycling and waste prevention are ambitious. Nobody will deny that. And everyone recognises that they will require serious efforts, in particular from the new EU Member States that have only just begun to develop a proper waste management infrastructure.”

“There is no doubt that the Package has its shortfalls, especially with regard to the financial instruments needed to reach the targets. But no Commission proposal has ever come out of a legislative procedure without amendments and improvements. This is exactly the role of the European Parliament and the Council. To withdraw a legislative proposal welcomed by a large majority in both institutions would be unacceptable.”

The Commission’s impact assessment has shown that full implementation of the circular economy package would create 180,000 new jobs in Europe. The package has an economic potential of 600 billion euro, which equals five times the estimated added value of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. FEAD is therefore convinced that the circular economy package should be supported by the Commission not only for environmental reasons, but also because it could be a centrepiece of the new Commission’s strategy to create growth and jobs.

The Environmental Services Association’s (ESA), Executive Director, Jacob Hayler commented on the news: “It is disappointing that the Commission now seems finally to have decided to withdraw the circular economy waste proposals, contrary to the majority view among MEPs and EU Environment Ministers”.

“Nevertheless ESA, and its European association FEAD, will continue to work closely with the Commission, the Parliament, and the Member States to help develop the ‘more ambitious’ circular economy package which Vice President Timmermans has promised to re-table later this year”.

“This new package will need to retain key elements of the existing proposals, while adding measures to prevent waste and strengthen the markets for recycled and recovered materials”.