The European Parliament calls for an ambitious circular economy
On June 17th last year, the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee approved its own initiative report "Resource Efficiency: Towards a Circular Economy". Although the report still needs to be approved at the July 7 plenary meeting and is not legally binding, the European Parliament has sent a strong signal about what it hopes to see in the future circular economy package submitted in the fall.
The report, sponsored by the Finnish MEP of EPP Sirpa Pietikäinen, describes the main elements required to achieve a circular economy and solve existing obstacles. It consists of four main areas: resource efficiency, product policy, zero waste, and fiscal policy.
In terms of resource efficiency, the report urged the development of resource use and resource efficiency indicators and mainstreamed them into all EU policy areas. It also recommends that these indicators be included in the European semester. In addition, it has set a binding resource efficiency target of 30% by 2030 compared to the 2014 level.
In the area of product policy, the Environment Council’s own initiative report called for an end to the planned phase-out, phase-out of toxic substances in products, and promotion of product repairability and recyclability.
Other proposals are believed to put Europe on a zero waste track. The report calls for the establishment of binding waste prevention targets by 2025, a 70% municipal waste recycling target by 2030 and an 80% packaging recycling target by 2030. It also includes other targets, such as a 50% reduction in marine debris by 2025 compared to 2014 levels, or a 30% reduction in food waste by 2025. The Environmental Commission also urged strict restrictions on the incineration of non-recyclable and non-biodegradable waste by 2020. The report also recommends improvements to existing policy tools, such as EPR plans, mainstream landfill and incineration pay-as-you-go plans and taxes; and mandatory separate collection of biological waste before 2020.
Other proposals are aimed at improving the governance and monitoring of EU policies, such as the general and clear definition of municipal waste and methods for calculating preparations for recycling and reuse.
The last area is fiscal policy. The report recommends relaxing the value-added tax on products and services that promote the circular economy, such as second-hand products, maintenance activities, and recycled products. It also emphasizes the importance of phasing out subsidies that are harmful to the environment, such as incineration.
Zero Waste Europe welcomes this report and calls on members of the European Parliament to support it at the plenary meeting held on July 7th, and calls on the European Commission to pay attention to this report.
For more information, click on the report here.