“Circular economy” is a sustainability goal being sought by E.U. institutions and member states in regard to end of life recycling of materials. The topic has been in the discussion phase among European institutions and member states for two years as the European Commission presented a revised circular economy package on 3 December 2015. It consists of four waste legislative proposals (waste package) and an Action Plan. Recently, E.U. institutions have agreed on some reforms on the waste legislations.
In the early hours of 18 December 2017, the Estonian presidency reached a provisional agreement with representatives of the European Parliament on all four legislative proposals of the waste package. The final analysis and endorsement on behalf of the Council is planned for the first quarter of 2018.
It is noteworthy that the agreement reached between European institutions and member states specified a target recycling rate of 65% by 2035, 60% by 2030 and 55% by 2025. In addition, the agreement also features a 10% cap on landfill.
The agreement is designed to reduce the amount of materials going to the landfills. Most of the materials are used and eventually end their lives in landfills or incineration. The circular economy standards aim at achieving a more environmentally friendly fate for materials so that they can be recycled put into additional uses in the recycling loop.
The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) considers the steps taken toward circular economy could be much more aggressive.
“This is not the outcome we all hoped for, but it is nonetheless a significant improvement compared with the laws that are currently in place,” said Piotr Barczak, waste policy officer at EEB, in a release. “We are happy the discussions are now over. Now member states and EU institutions need to build on this decision to fully transition to a circular economy.”
According to the EEB, less than 50% of E.U. waste is recycled and the target recycling goal for E.U. member states in expected to boost this percentage.
It is to be noted that the overall recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans in Europe (EU 28 + EFTA) increased by 1.6% to a new record level of 72.9% in 2014, a press release from European Aluminium in November confirmed. European Aluminium considers this result an important milestone on its path towards the future split aluminium recycling target of 75% for 2025, proposed by the European Union in its Circular Economy package.
Source: China Aluminium Network