EU adopts proposals for higher recycling targets and mandatory EPR

The EU parliament today voted on the Circular Economy draft waste legislative proposals, amending the WEEE, Battery and Packaging and Packaging Waste, End-of-Life Vehicles, Waste Framework and Landfill Directives.

This morning’s debate in the EU parliament reflected the priorities and opinions from various members states, but showed a largely common stance on higher targets, the need for separate collections of waste materials and measures on waste prevention and tackling food waste.

The european parliament committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), and its rapporteur Simona Bonafè released four draft reports in early February, consolidating over 2,000 amendments tabled by MEPs and presents the committee’s own resolution on the commission’s proposals.

Amongst the most significant changes were a return to the higher recycling targets originally proposed by the commission in 2014. Under the draft proposals, adopted by a majority of nearly 600 votes today, member states must recycle 70% of municipal waste by 2030, limit landfilling to 5% and recycle 80% of packaging waste.

A food waste reduction target of 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030 is included in the draft, but is not binding until the commission has found a harmonised method of calculating it, Bonafè explained in a press conference this afternoon.

The draft legislation will now enter the interinstitutional negotations, or trilogue stage with the European Council. Bonafè expressed her hope for swift negotiations with the council, and that the package can be concluded under the current Maltese presidency by the end of June 2017.

Mandatory Extended Producer Responsibilty for WEEE, batteries and packaging

Of particular interest for UK producers will be the proposal to make EPR – Extended Producer responsibility – mandatory, with specific minimum requirements applicable to all member states. This would almost invariably change the current financing and operating model of producer responsibility in the UK, and is particularly questionable in light of Brexit.

Although DEFRA confirmed in January that it assumes the Circular Economy Package would still apply to the UK despite Brexit, the position adopted by EU parliament today on EPR, separate collection and ambitious targets is likely to put it on a collision course with a UK government critical of the Circular Economy in general, and its prescriptive targets and measures in particular.

For detailed information on the changes adopted today and how they will affect UK producers, watch out for our news bulletin special, issued to all our members shortly. In the meantime, if you have any concerns or questions please do not hesitate to contact our team on 0333 4330 370 or email info@ecosurety.com.


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Useful links


The UK does not yet have comprehensive EPR systems in place, but that is set to change. Are you ready?


Packaging EPR producer enrolment now live on gov.uk

The online Report Packaging Data portal is now live for large producers to complete enrolment and nominate their compliance scheme by 1 October.


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