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Circular Economy, EU’s 2017 priority

Comments (0) Circular Economy, Recycling

Proposals for a 65% recycling target for municipal waste are included in the Circular Economy package.


Under the heading ‘A New Boost for Jobs, Growth and Investment’,  the European Commission means to set the policy area as a priority. This way, meetings within EU Member States are taking place to end the package of proposals due to be adopted by the European Union to update existing waste and recycling legislation.

This is supposed to include proposals to increase the existing recycling target for household waste from its current level of 50% by 2020, to a higher 65% by 2030 target.


At this point, timing might be the key for the UK.  We need to remember it´s expected to begin the formal process of its withdrawal from the European Union before the end of March, the beginning of two years of the exit negotiations.

However, the UK would need to embrace any european agreement if the Circular Economy legislation becomes an EU law before the UK leaves.

Related to this point, UK ministeres have already informed about their concerns regarding that 65% recycling objective. Defra minister Thérèse Coffey considers that target to be “too high to be achievable”.

Nevertheless, the EU’s Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella has outlined the European Union´s desire not to see targets watered down. He mentioned this after a meeting of ministers in Strasbourg on the 19th of December.


Mr Vella also said: “The Commission has proposed ambitious yet realistic recycling targets and – when necessary and justified – allowing for some extra time in order to take all Member States on board. At the same time, with the proposed rules on calculation we move to a more harmonised system that ensures better reliability and comparability of data. In this light the Commission would regret both lower the target levels and any attempts to weaken the recycling targets. We should avoid introducing many types of re-use definitions into the recycling target.”

Last but not least, Mr. Vella added: “I will explain that 2017 will be a busy year for the Circular Economy as the Commission will table a series of proposals as outlined in the 2015 Action Plan. This will start on 25 January with a ‘mini-package’ of 20 of the 54 action points therein.”

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