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EU Confirms Proposals to Scrap Circular Economy Package

Monday, February 2, 2015

The European Commission has confirmed its decision to axe its proposed circular economy package, despite significant objections from the EU Parliament and national environment ministers.

Legal proceedings to officially ditch the legislation should be completed in the next couple of months.

Karl Falkenberg, the Commission’s Director-General for the environment, told MEPs at a European Parliament’s ENVI Committee meeting that the formal decision would take place in February.  It is understood that the Commission wants to combine the circular economy package with Juncker’s new Investment Plan.

The circular economy package included key targets for the improved waste and resource management.  This included a 70% recycling or reuse target for municipal waste by 2030 and a ban on disposing recyclable materials to landfill by 2050, such as plastics, paper, metals, glass and biodegradable waste.

At the end of 2014 it was announced that the circular economy package in its existing form would be replaced with a more ‘ambitious proposal’ by the end of 2015.  However this decision raised some concerns within the resources sector, with many fearing that the EU may be retracting any legislative proposals on circular economy.  

There are also concerns that this delay in developing any clear policy framework beyond 2020 could discourage much needed private sector investment in European resource management infrastructure.

A final decision on the future of the circular economy package is expected later in February 2015.  It is hoped that any new package will retain key elements of the existing proposals, whilst also adding further measures to prevent waste and strengthen the markets for recycled and recovered materials.

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