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EP Environment Committee adopts draft legislation on circular economy

On Wednesday (14 February), Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in the Environment Committee adopted their position on a proposed revision of the Waste Framework Directive, by 72 votes in favour, none against and three abstentions.

The MEPs want to increase the binding waste reduction targets proposed by the Commission to at least 20 per cent in food processing and manufacturing (instead of 10 per cent) and to 40 per cent per capita in retail, restaurants, food services and households (instead of 30 per cent), in comparison to the annual average generated between 2020 and 2022. EU countries would need to ensure that these targets are achieved at the national level by 31 December 2030.

The committee’s members also want the European Commission to evaluate the possibility and make appropriate legislative proposals to introduce higher targets for 2035 (at least 30 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively).

“We provide focused solutions to reduce food waste, such as promoting ‘ugly’ fruits and veggies, keeping an eye on unfair market practices, clarifying date labelling and donating unsold-but-consumable food. For textiles, we patch up loopholes by also including non-household products, carpets and mattresses, as well as sales via online platforms,” said Anna Zalewska (ECR, PL).

The new rules, as adopted by MEPs, would set up extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes, through which economic operators that make textiles available on the EU market would cover the costs for their separate collection, sorting and recycling.

“We also request a textile waste reduction target, with an oversight of exported used textiles. Better infrastructure to increase separate collection should be complemented by sorting mixed municipal waste more efficiently, so that items which can be recycled are extracted before being sent to the incinerator or landfill,” said MEP Zalewska.

EU countries would have to establish these schemes 18 months after the entry into force of the directive (compared to 30 months proposed by the Commission). In parallel, EU countries would need to ensure, by 1 January 2025, the separate collection of textiles for reuse, preparing for reuse and recycling.

These rules would cover textile products such as clothing and accessories, blankets, bed linen, curtains, hats, footwear, mattresses and carpets, including products that contain textile-related materials such as leather, composition leather, rubber or plastic.

The full house is scheduled to vote on its position during a plenary session planned for March. The file will be followed up by the new Parliament after the European elections on 6-9 June.

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