Labour MEPs: Binding EU targets on waste recycling will protect environment and lower costs

Labour MEPs hailed new EU targets on waste recycling and said the UK must not weaken the ambitious measures if it leaves.

The European Parliament today backed the binding targets on landfill, packaging and other waste, which include: recycling targets for urban waste of 55 per cent in 2025, 60% in 2030 and 65% in 2035; a ceiling to limit landfilling to 10% of all waste for all EU countries by 2035; recycling targets for general packaging waste of 65% by 2025 and 70% by 2030; and recycling targets for plastic packaging waste of 50% by 2025 and 55% by 2030.

Governments will also be required to enhance the take-up of reusable packaging by increasing measures such as deposit schemes; bring in mandatory measures to reduce food waste; and work to halt the generation of marine litter.

Producers, meanwhile, will be subject minimum mandatory requirements for extended producer responsibility schemes, and they will have to take responsibility for collecting or taking back their already-used products, and also for sorting and treatment of their recycling.

Seb Dance MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on environment, said:

“To protect the environment and create a more sustainable future we need to increase recycling rates and reduce waste disposal, and the only way this can be achieved is by working together and applying common standards. The new, binding targets will reduce waste and promote re-use, efficiency, durability and recycling, protecting the environment and bringing down costs.

“The measures to introduce deposit return schemes are also paramount – five-and-a-half billion plastic bottles are not recycled every year in the UK: forty-three per cent of the total. Plastic bottles are a third of all plastic pollution in the sea and continue to harm marine life – the Tory government must stop dragging its feet and urgently introduce such a scheme in the UK.

“This is a matter of sustainability, efficiency and ethics. The UK produces more than 100 million tonnes of waste every year, when this could and should be reinvested in the economy – it is vital Britain does not weaken these ambitious new measures if it leaves.”