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ENVI Committee Meeting

European Parliament calls for ambitious circular economy

Last 17th June, the Committee on the Environment, Publich Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament approved the Own Initiative Report “Resource Efficiency: moving towards a circular economy“. Although the report still needs to be approved in the plenary on July the 7th and isn’t legally binding, the European Parliament gives a strong signal on what it wants to see in the future Circular Economy Package, to be presented in the fall.

Sponsored by the Finnish MEP of the EPP Sirpa Pietikäinen, the report addresses the main elements needed to bring a circular economy and to tackle the existing barriers. It is structured in four main areas: resource efficiency, product policy, zero waste and fiscal policies.

When it comes to resource efficiency, the report urges to develop indicators on resource use and resource efficiency and to mainstream them in all EU policy areas. It also proposes to include these indicators in the European Semester. Besides, it proposes a binding resource efficiency target of 30% by 2030 compared to 2014 levels.

On the field of product policy, the Environment Committee’s Own Initiative Report calls, among others, to end up with planned obsolescense, to phase out toxics from products and to favour repairability and recyclability of products.

Other of the proposals are thought to set Europe on track towards zero waste. The report calls for binding targets on waste prevention by 2025, a 70% recycling target of Municipal Waste by 2030 and an 80% recycling target of packaging by 2030. It also includes other targets, such as marine litter reduction target of 50% by 2025 compared to 2014 levels or a foodwaste reduction target of 30% by 2025. Environment Committee also urges to strictly limit incineration to non-recyclable and non-biodegradable waste by 2020. The report also proposes to improve the existing policy instruments, such as EPR schemes, mainstream pay-as-you-throw schemes and taxes on landfilling and incineration; and to make separate collection of biowaste compulsory by 2020.

Other proposals are meant to improve governance and monitoring of EU policies, such as common and clear definitions of municipal waste and of the methodology to calculate recycling and preparation for re-use.

The last of the areas is fiscal policy, where the report suggests to relax VAT for products and services driving circular economy, such as 2nd hand products, repair activities, recycled products, etc. It also underlines the importance of phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies, such as those on incineration.

Zero Waste Europe welcomes this report and calls on Members of the European Parliament to support it on the Plenary vote taking place on July 7th and on the European Commission to take note of this report.

For more info, the report here.

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Ferran Rosa

Ferran joined the team in May 2015 after several months of collaboration with Zero Waste Europe. He has previously worked for the European Commission, supporting the design of policy alternatives to current waste-related legislation, for the Green European Foundation, spreading the main ecologist ideas and proposals at the European level and for GOB Mallorca on sustainable use of land and natural resources. Ferran holds a Master in European Studies from the Université Libre de Bruxelles.


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