Tough enforcement planned for EU circular economy package

The revised circular economy package of waste and recycling laws proposed by the European Commission will be backed by tougher EU-wide enforcement.

The new proposals have lower 2030 targets for recycling municipal and packaging waste. For municipal waste, the new target is 65%, rather than 70%, and for packaging it is 75% rather than 80%.

But pragmatism, enforcement and implementation are really the basis of the new proposal says an EC official. As the revised targets are more realistic, this implies that strong enforcement would be justified. This broader “vision” is still ambitious and should create more business opportunities.

The Commission argues that additional measures, such as initiatives focusing on designing products to make them easier to recycle, made the new rules more ambitious.

But the circular economy package would not be allowed to harm the international competitiveness of European industry, warned Giovanni La Via, chairman of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee.

The circular economy package was controversially withdrawn and re-tabled by the Juncker Commission as part of its drive for ‘better regulation’. 

But Ferran Rosa of Zero Waste Europe said the package could not be pragmatic and ambitious at the same time.

“It’s impossible to reach a systemic change relying on low-hanging, easily implemented low-hanging fruits,” he said.

Concerns have been raised that higher environmental standards in the EU have left industries vulnerable to being undercut by competitors from countries such as China, which can make products cheaper.

The European Parliament will set out its position in November and the package could be approved soon after.

Further information

April 7, 2016