The EU Commission has adopted proposals to boost recycling quotas to create 'circular economies' in the bloc. Instead of wasting precious resources, the EU drive is for re-use, repair and recycling.
The new plan, adopted by the EU's executive, the European Commission, on Wednesday, called on the bloc's 28 member states to increase recycling quotas for municipal waste to 70 percent and packaging waste to 80 percent by 2030.
In addition, EU members were to introduce a ban on burying recyclable waste in landfills by 2025.
The proposal would temper the impact on the environment and would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said in a statement.
Potocnik added the plan would set the EU on course for what he called a circular economy in which re-use, repair and recycling would become the norm.
"If we want to compete we have to get the most out of our resources, and that means recycling them back into productive use, not burying them in landfills as waste," Potocnik said.
According to the EU Commission, the bloc's member states already recycle about 42 percent of their waste on average. But there are huge differences in individual member states.
In Germany, waste is no longer allowed to be buried in landfills, with 47 percent of it recycled, 18 percent composted and 35 percent burned in incinerators. By contrast, Romania buries 99 percent of its waste in landfills.
Janez Potocnik also said that investment in recycling efforts could create up to 580,000 new jobs in the EU. The EU Commission would support member states' efforts by providing a regulatory framework and measures to promote the transfer of know-how, he added.
The Commission's recycling plan still needs to be discussed and adopted by the bloc's national parliaments as well as by the EU Parliament.
uhe/cjc (AFP, dpa)