The European Commission’s circular economy package on recycling and making better use of resources within the EU could be scrapped or watered down, it has been revealed.
The potential for scrapping the package has been raised by the new Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker who is reviewing all outstanding work from the previous regime – a complete set of new commissioners took office last month with the predecessor team standing down in the wake of the European MEP elections.
President Juncker and Vice-President Frans Timmermans have set out their plans in a letter to Commisioners about the new Commission’s first Work Programme (CWP) for 2015. Appendices to the letter list policy packages which are to be reviewed, including the circular economy and air quality measures .
The circular economy package includes proposals for Member States to recycle or reuse 70% of municipal waste by 2030 – an increase on the current 50% by 2020 target – and to ban recyclable materials such as plastics, paper, metals, glass and biodegradable waste to landfill by 2025. Landfilling of waste would also be phased out entirely under the proposals.
In response to the possible scrapping of the package, a number of MEPs have urged the Commission to continue support for these emphasising what they see as “huge” economic and environmental benefits of the circular economy measures.