EU officials have revealed that higher recycling objectives and an “aspirational target” for resource efficiency are to form part of the measures included in an upcoming European policy package.
It is understood that the policy package is to be adopted by the European Commission (EC) on 18 June.
The measures will focus on food and construction waste and will look to EU commitments beyond the current 2020 targets, which instruct member states to recycle 50% of their municipal solid waste and 70% of construction waste.
Speaking at Brussels’ Green Week conference, environment commissioner Janez Potočnik said the package would have at its core “a push for higher recycling rates and a push for the elimination of landfill in waste legislation”.
In a video statement ahead of the conference, Karl Falkenberg, EC director-general for the environment said the EC will also synchronize the measurement of recycling rates with the introduction of a single system.
Falkenberg went on to say that the EC would prepare for a landfill ban by introducing “timelines” for those states that rely on the disposal method to speed up the transition to recycling and recovery.
Potočnik said a non-mandatory target on resource efficiency would also be put forward.
“I can guarantee you that any proposal for a target for resource efficiency will meet the usual cries of ‘not now, not yet, wait until we have more data, and a mature methodology’,” Potočnik said. “But after four years of work – analysis, consultation, modelling – I can assure you that there is really no legitimate reason to delay.”
The “aspirational” target will be in the form of raw material consumption linked to GDP, although the commissioner acknowledged it was not a perfect measure.
“We are not talking here about a legally binding target. We need such a target set at an achievable but aspirational level, and we should not be scared of it,” said Potočnik.