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Resource Efficiency

European Parliament calls for new rules on collection, recycling and recovery of plastic waste


Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for more action to reduce the amount of plastic waste in Europe. At a European parliamentary session in Strasbourg, they voted by a show of hands in favour of a resolution to set specific binding targets in EU legislation for the sorting and collection of up to 80% of waste. Read more…

The MEPs were responding to the European Commission’s Green Paper, which outlined a number of possible measures for reducing the amount of plastic waste in the environment. Currently, only 25% of plastic waste is recycled; on average, 466 plastic bags are used every year by each European citizen and the majority end up as litter. This large volume of plastic waste is having a detrimental impact on the health of ecosystems.

MEPs called on the European Commission to phase out the most hazardous plastics and single-use, non-biodegradable plastic bags by 2020 and to discourage the reliance on incineration and landfill. They also want bolder steps to tackle illegal exports and the dumping of plastic waste. The MEPs suggest that fully enforcing European Union legislation on waste could save €72 billion a year, boost the annual turnover of EU waste management and recycling firms by €42 billion, and create over 400,000 jobs by 2020.

The Commission is currently midway through reviewing all its policies on waste including the Landfill Directive, the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, and the Waste Framework Directive. The European Parliament has requested that the Commission puts forward proposals by the end of 2014.

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Press release 


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