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18. February 2020

EU Waste Package and EU Plastics Strategy

Green Deal encourages Europe-wide circular economy

The EU plans to become climate neutral by 2050. Around 50 measures, brought together in the EU Commission’s Green Deal, are supposed to help achieve this goal. The package includes Europe-wide modernisation of the circular economy, as initiated back in 2018 in the EU waste package. Germany plays a pioneering role in this, as RIGK knows: it is now passing on its 28 years of expertise to European neighbours in a series of consulting projects.

With the „Green Deal“, the EU hopes to bring about an environmental transformation as quickly as possible. The goal is to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement and to develop leading markets for climate-neutral and cycle-orientated products. These are intended to persuade the rest of the world that sustainability and competitiveness are in no way mutually exclusive. Although European industry has begun the process of transformation in recent years, still only 12% of the materials it uses come from recycling. The Green Deal aims to change this, and fast – with an action plan that supports cycle-orientated products so much that companies will prioritize reusable and recycled materials in future.

More recycling, less landfill
The Green Deal strengthens the EU waste package passed in 2018, which defines uniform guidelines for creating a circular economy. It sets out both a schedule and clear environmental targets in order to drive an increase in recycling rates and limit landfill.

  • Landfill ban
    Limiting landfill is considered one of the most effective ways to achieve a climate-friendly, resource-saving circular economy and provides a key incentive to recycle. From 2035, EU member states will be limited to placing no more than 10% of all municipal waste in landfill. A ban on reusable materials being placed in landfill takes effect even earlier, in 2030. At the moment, standards in Europe vary widely. With Germany leading the way, the landfill rate in some member states is almost zero – yet in other countries it is more than 75%.
  • Recyclability of packaging
    A new directive on preventing packaging waste and encouraging reuse, recycling and other forms of use is intended to counteract final disposal. In addition, specific recycling targets for packaging waste and strict rules for adherence to them have been defined across Europe. By 2030, 70% of all packaging and 55% of all plastics must be recyclable. The introduction of a minimum recycling portion in packaging is also planned.

Product responsibility
EU-wide minimum requirements will also apply for the principle of extended producer responsibility (EPR) in future. By 2024, every member state must have introduced an EPR system for packaging from private and industrial use. This obligates manufacturers to take on all the costs for the waste management of their products themselves.

A signal RIGK has been waiting for
In Germany, this obligation has been in place since the Packaging Ordinance came into effect in 1992. Participation in a dual system is mandatory for household packaging, while an equivalent recovery and recycling obligation applies to industry. RIGK customers therefore act in accordance with the law and meet the planned EU measures.

With seven established recovery systems in total, RIGK has comprehensive expertise in the recovery and recycling of packaging and plastics – both within Germany and far beyond. RIGK Romania has been providing vital inspiration on the Eastern European market for the last twelve years. Subsidiary RIGK Chile has been supporting the first South American country on the road to an effective circular economy since 2016. The combination of specialist and international expertise makes RIGK a valuable advisor when it comes to implementing the new EU specifications. The first European neighbours have already made enquiries, hoping to build on RIGK’s expertise and accelerate the environmental transformation aimed at in the Green Deal.

More information:
Claudia Hoese
Phone: +49 611 308600-12

PDF download: European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal, (2019/2956(RSP))