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Circular economy approval in 2017?

October 3, 2016

circular_economy_infographic-300x264European politicians are “expected to agree” proposals on the circular economy by January next year.

The European Commission (EC) reported it would be axing its plans for a circular economy in January 2015, before reconsidering and revealing it would increase funding, launching a public consultation, to which both UKCRA and ETIRA contributed their views from remanufacturers. However, reports suggested it would dilute any circular economy package, and doubted their potential.

Despite this, the new package was launched in December 2015 and adopted that month, with a packaging waste recycling target of 75 percent for member states by 2030, and received a funding boost of around €24 billion ($26.3 billion) from the EU soon after. Deputy Head of the European Commission’s Waste Unit, Julius Langendorff, stated it “will take more than” a year to implement, though it was said to be “progressing well” in April, before being questioned again in June.

The EU had also previously revealed it was planning “tough” enforcement of the circular economy package, while other areas of the EU warned earlier this year that the package could be seen as a “threat” to certain stakeholders. The most recent development saw Germany allegedly plan to “call for removal of EU recycling targets” and “oppose” them from “being included in European legislation while the current measuring system is in use”.

Materials Recycling World reported that environmental policy chiefs have “called for urgency” in adopting the circular economy package, with passage into law “expected to be delayed until early next year”. Proposals in the package included a 65 percent recycling target for municipal waste by 2030, and a 75 percent target for packaging waste, with the EU’s rapporteur Simona Bonafe publishing amendments in June including “higher recycling targets”.

Among her other suggestions was the “removal of a clause allowing member states to offer commingled instead of separate collections where it is technically, environmentally and economically practicable (TEEP)”, with the European parliament discussing the suggestions and “concerns over her proposed single methodology for calculating recycling rates as opposed to the commission’s two”, which Germany had taken issue with.

Originally, the agreement was set for 8 November, but Bonafe said that January is “now a more likely date”, with the EC’s environment director Kestutis Sadauskas calling for a deal “as soon as possible”, while also sharing concerns over Bonafe’s proposals. Her changes included “10 new tasks for the commission to complete”, which could “cause the implementation of the package to take longer”.

The recycling targets would, he argued, be “crucial for the parliament reaching agreement with the Council of Ministers”, which is the “final step of the proposals’ passage into law”. Bonafe defended her proposals but also “suggested there could be room for discussion”.

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