The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has called on the EU executive to table a new, ambitious proposal on the circular economy, following the controversial withdrawal of a draft package by the European Commission last year.
In a resolution adopted on Wednesday (17 June) by a broad cross-party majority, MEPs called on the Commission to adopt an ambitious proposal on the circular economy by the end of the year.
Among key measures backed by MEPs was a call to reintroduce a legally binding target to cut waste by 30% by 2025 – including food waste. Those measures had been scrapped by the Commission when it withdrew its circular economy package last year in a drive for leaner law-making, causing uproar among environmentalists.
The report, drafted by Finnish MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen, was adopted by 56 votes to 5, with 5 abstentions.
“Today’s vote sends a strong signal to the Juncker Commission,” said Claude Turmes, a Green MEP from Luxembourg who sits on the Parliament’s Environment Committee.
In their resolution, MEPs called on the Commission to promote a lifecycle approach to product policy, aimed at making products more recyclable, repairable and longer-lasting. New eco-design rules should be submitted by the end of 2016, and include all product groups, the MEPs said.
The report also demands tangible measures to combat planned obsolescence of products and to improve consumer protection against defects. This should include phasing out toxic chemicals from manufacturing and encouraging the development of non-polluting production methods.
It remains to be seen whether the Parliament’s resolve on the circular economy will stand the test of a plenary vote, however.
When lawmakers voted on the Commission’s 2015 workplan earlier this year, MEPs failed to pass a resolution against the Commission’s ditching of green legislation.