Half of Europe not on track with waste recycling

Only a small proportion of plastics are recycled. [Shutterstock]

Fourteen EU member states have to step up efforts to reach the target of recycling 50% of municipal waste in 2020 – an objective set by the framework directive in 2008. EURACTIV France’s media partner, the Journal de l’environnement, reports.

Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Spain, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovakia are under close surveillance.

On 24 September, Brussels provided them with a roadmap to respect one of the key objectives of the 2008 framework directive (50% recycling of municipal waste in 2020), while the Circular Economy Package raised the bar to 55% in 2025

Extended producer responsibility sectors, taxes and data

This comprehensive document, which is supplemented by national warnings, was produced in light of the 2013-2015 reports sent by member states on the implementation of the main waste directives (framework directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment, packaging, landfill and sewage waste).

The document prioritises the growth of extended producer responsibility sectors, the development of incentive economic resources – such as raising taxes on landfill and incineration – and improving waste data.

Technical and financial support

“The Commission is there to provide technical assistance, support through the structural funds and share best practices,” declared Karmenu Vella, the Commissioner for environment.

Brussels is not stopping there. By 2020, the executive also plans to conduct visits to the 14 countries to consider the scope for progress with the national, regional and local authorities.


‘Impossible’ recycling in the real world

In the Netherlands, one recycling plant is doing what many in the industry have labelled “impossible”, by recycling household packaging and making a financial success of it. EURACTIV went north of the Belgian-Dutch border to see the operation in action.


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