Officials with the European Union have approved waste legislation, which highlights the development of a new strategy on plastics in a circular economy.
In a decision announced Dec. 18, the EU legislators with the European Parliament, Council and European Commission reached an agreement on a proposal from December 2015, which covered four areas of waste, packaging waste, landfill and electrical and electronic waste.
The circular economy package includes broad measures for changing the full product lifecycle and to go beyond a focus on the end-of-life stage.
As part of the rules, the commission mandated that food waste should be halved by 2030, while quality standards should be developed for secondary raw materials.
Another key action adopted by the legislation is drawing up a strategy on plastics in the circular economy to address a number of issues, including: recyclability, biodegradability, the presence of hazardous substances in plastics and the sustainable development goals target for significantly reducing marine litter.
A series of actions on water reuse including a legislative proposal on minimum requirements for the reuse of wastewater, also are included in the package.
The revised legislative proposal sets clear targets for the reduction of waste, including a common EU target for recycling 65 percent of municipal waste, and 75 percent of packaging waste by 2030.
Also, the landfill target should be reduced to maximum of 10 percent of municipal waste by 2030.
Commenting on the agreement, Karmenu Vella, commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, said the decision was “one big step” towards the circular economy.
“Modernizing our European waste legislation will drive efforts of member states to cut the amount of waste we generate, to reduce the materials we bury and burn, and to increase re-use and recycling,” he said.
According to the commissioner, the deal will strengthen Europe's "waste hierarchy" by placing prevention, reuse and recycling clearly above landfilling and incineration.