September 19, 2016
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. Now, Resource has reported that Germany “could call for removal of EU recycling targets” and “oppose” them from “being included in European legislation while the current measuring system is in use”.
It reportedly wants “all recycling targets” to be “scrapped while an alternative recycling data methodology is implemented”, which would risk “further delay to the package’s adoption”. This information was found in a document seen by EurActiv and “distributed among diplomats’ working groups”, with Germany aiming to delay any targets “for at least three years”, despite having been the “top recycler” in the EU in 2014, recycling 63.8 percent of municipal waste.
Resource points out that “it should have no trouble in meeting the recycling targets” of 65 percent by 2030, noting however that the European parliament is “still keen on the target being increased to 70 percent” as per the 2014 draft of the legislation. The German government “disagrees with the calculation method” suggested and “wants a different method, that it deems to be more accurate” to be tested for three years, “despite, or perhaps because of, its own recycling position”.
Once the alternative method has been tested, Germany believes the other targets should “be considered”, with its method including a “standard loss rate” to represent “how much waste is lost in the recycling process, set by the recycler”, which is “then deducted from the recycling figure reported”. The EU’s method would provide “consistency” across the union by “simply counting how much waste enters the recycling process”.
The package needs to be agreed by all three EU institutions – the council, parliament and commission – but the first two are “still negotiating amongst themselves”, and previous votes on recycling targets had seen the UK vote against the 70 percent figure. Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania and Bulgaria were said to support the German plans, but Slovakia – which holds council presidency – aims to “reach an agreement on the package by the end of its term”.
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