Hitting the targets on EU waste and recycling

The European Union’s long-anticipated consultation on future waste and recycling targets has now been launched!

Running until September, its purpose is to gather views from everyone – including members of the public, businesses, and Third Sector bodies – on whether recycling targets should be changed to fit the European Commission’s aspirations. The consultation is going ahead because EU Directives must be evaluated on a regular basis.

Areas of interest in the consultation document include incineration – whether there ought to be limits on the amount of waste that can be disposed of in this way – and the introduction of targets for wood, textiles and food waste. Both household and commercial waste targets will be addressed in the survey, which forms the first part of the EU’s review.

Currently, EU Member States – including the UK – have been required to recover 60% of their packaging waste since 2008, and must recycle or reuse half of all household waste by 2020.

Recycling Lives will be following the consultation’s progress with interest. We have always had a strong belief that as much material as possible must be recycled; our view is that waste is a valuable resource, and it should be treated as such.

We hope that our fellow waste management and recycling sector businesses will join us in pushing for targets to become more stringent, in order to drive forward reuse and recycling within all the EU Member States.

It is not just because recycling and reuse are good for the environment that we feel targets should be met and exceeded. We also believe that commercial activities in the recycling sector can add social value through job creation, and enabling communities to flourish.

Our commercial activities also sustain a social welfare charity. The charity supports homeless people to improve their lives and achieve independence through work placements and training opportunities. When they leave the charity, they are better equipped to find employment and maintain their own tenancies.

Many of the Residents go on to work in the recycling and waste management field, having learned skills through their work placements on our sites. They may process scrap metal, plastics, and a range of other waste materials – all of which avoid landfill.

At Recycling Lives, we want to ensure that as much material is recycled in the best way possible – which is why we emphasise reuse and make sure we divert waste from landfill. We will be interested to see what the rest of the UK thinks when the consultation’s results are published!