"The European Parliament has said ‘yes’ to the circular economy by a very large majority. This marks the end of three years of work, but above all it marks the beginning of a challenge for Europe," said MEP Simona Bonafè, the rapporteur for the package via Twitter following the Wednesday vote in Strasbourg. She said it was possible turn waste from an expense to the public into a value for the economy. EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella thanked the rapporteur and the European Parliament for their support of the waste package and for "preserving its ambitious recycling targets". "The package reconciled long-term targets with realities on the ground," he added.
The Parliament’s plenary voted to approve each of the four legislative proposals by a large majority, as expected. The amendments to the Waste Framework Directive received 559 votes in favour, 42 op-posed and 46 abstentions. Some 580 MEPs voted in favour of the amendments to the Landfill Directive, with 44 opposed and 37 abstentions, while the amended Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive was adopted by a vote of 533 to 37 with 57 abstentions. The Directive on end-of-life vehicles (ELVs), waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and Batteries passed with 568 votes (42 opposed, 28 abstentions).
The package lays out waste management targets in the EU for the period until 2035. Among other changes, the legislation increases the minimum quota for recycling municipal waste and preparing it for reuse to 55 per cent by weight of arisings in 2025 and then raises it to 60 per cent in 2030 and ultimately to 65 per cent in 2035.
In the next step in the legislative process, the Council must formally adopt the legislation. This is expected to happen in May. Following its formal adoption, the new Directives can be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and enter into force 20 days later. The member states will be given two years to transpose the legislation.