Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Europe should stabilise waste production by 2012

Waste production should be stabilized by 2012, said the Environment Committee in a second reading report, adopted on April 8, on a proposal to revise the EU framework directive on waste. The committee voted to reinstate most of Parliament's first reading amendments that were not taken up by the Council, and reiterated Parliament's call for re-use and recycling targets.

Over 1.8 billion tonnes of waste are generated each year in Europe. This amount is growing faster than GDP and less than a third of it is recycled. Some Member States landfill 90% of their municipal waste, others only 10%. In September 2005, the European Commission proposed an overhaul of the 1975 directive, largely to lay down rules on recycling and to require Member States to draw up binding national programmes for cutting waste production.

Binding targets for waste stabilisation, re-use and recycling

In the second reading report by Caroline Jackson, MEPs call for total waste production to be stabilized by 2012, compared to the 2009 position. Member States are asked to establish waste prevention programmes not later than five years after the revised directive's entry into force and to determine appropriate specific targets to achieve the 2012 target and further significant reductions in waste generation by 2020. MEPs also call for targets for reuse and recycling.

By 2020, re-use and recycling rates should be increased to a minimum of 50% by weight for household waste and a minimum of 70% by weight for construction and demolition waste and manufacturing and industrial waste. Member States with less than 5% recycling in either category or no official figures would be given an additional 5 years to reach the targets.

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