Waste Policy

The European Parliament shows the way to circular economy


09 Jul 2015

Written by

Joan Marc Simon


The Commission has homework for the summer: if it wants to save time and efforts for the co-legislative process, it should take note of Sirpa Pietikäinen’s report and include its proposals in the future text.

On July 9 the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg approved the own initiative report “Resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy”, giving a strong signal to the Commission and to the Council as to what kind of Circular Economy Package citizens’ representatives expect. Although this report is non-binding, it has a strong political message: the European Parliament remembers Commissioner Timmermans’ promise of proposing an ambitious and holistic circular economy package and urges the Commission to act consequently.

Although the report has been watered down -by an amendment from the European People’s Party and the European Conservatives and Reformists- which turns the proposal of a binding 30% resource efficiency target into a voluntary one, it still keeps some of its key aspects, such as the need of measuring footprint indicators for land, materials, water and carbon.

The European Parliament also calls for zero waste, proposing 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. Other of the targets proposed are a 50% marine litter reduction target of 50% by 2025 compared to 2014 levels and a foodwaste reduction target of 30% by 2025.

Especial attention deserves the fact that the Pietikäinen report urges to strictly limit incineration to non-recyclable and non-biodegradable waste by 2020. Besides, the Parliament stresses that there are loopholes in the Renewable Energies Directive that are being used to subsidize waste incineration, urging to phase out subsidies to incineration.

Zero Waste Europe welcomes the approval of this report and calls on the European Commission to take note of these proposals to include them in the circular economy package that is being drafted. The European Commission should enjoy the political momentum and commitment around circular economy to drive ambitious policies.