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Recyclers urge ‘ambition’ in EU waste targets

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The Resource Association has responded to the European Union’s consultation on existing recycling and landfill diversion targets by urging greater ambition in the setting of new ones, news that may interest those taking advantage of the waste collections of Collect and Recycle (

The EU’s consultation on the amendment of existing waste recycling targets closed on Tuesday September 10, with the Association – representatives of the UK’s reprocessing sector – stating that there was the need to set new targets in addition to taking a consistent approach to data recording across Europe.

The group, while conceding a present disparity in Europe-wide waste recycling rates, with landfill still depended on by some newer EU Member States, claimed that there was a requirement for the development of a “more sophisticated” approach if recycling infrastructure across the continent was to be improved.

The view of the Resource Association contrasts with that of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), the waste management sector trade body that advised against a significant increase in existing targets on account of the present great differences in performance between current Member States.

However, the Resource Association has called for a “multi layered” approach to target setting to allow for Member States’ different starting points.

In its response, the group stated: “We support a broadly more ambitious approach to the setting of targets in the EU, but importantly this must be set alongside an urgent need to standardise the use of data and definitions across the EU so that there is consistency and a level playing field in interpretation.

“In addition, while we support ambition for the whole of the EU, it must be realistic to develop a more sophisticated approach that recognises the starting point of many (especially newer) EU Member States who are presently very dependent on landfill and have very limited recycling infrastructure.

“A multi-layered approach to target setting and improvement from baseline would surely be more realistic and give all Member States a full and fair stake in our overall resource efficiency objectives.”

Also urged by the group was greater EU impetus for the development of an industry strategy that offered incentives for manufacturer recyclate use. It said that in the absence of this, achieving higher targets would be very difficult, without a basis in “any sensible future reality”.

It asserted the importance of the two approaches – increased targets and eco-industrial strategy – going hand in hand, to enable the easier achievement of a resource efficient Europe.

The consultation began in June, asking stakeholders for their views on the targets the Waste Framework, Landfill and Packaging and Packaging Waste Directives set out, as well as whether different waste streams should be subject to a maximum incineration level.

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