However, the resolution, voted through on Thursday, will have no binding effects on the commission, which is set to come up with new proposals on improving waste management and reducing waste production before the end of the year, following the withdrawal of the original draft late last year.
Since the decision to revise the draft legislation, pressure has been mounting on the commission as many saw the move as a result of pressure from business. The importance of the issue was well demonstrated by both the environment and competitiveness commissioners being present at the last plenary debate. The freshly adopted report is the parliament's only official instrument to influence the direction the new proposal takes.
While the environment committee’s recommendations were largely endorsed, the plenary voted against making the 30 per cent general resource efficiency target to be reached by 2030 binding. MEPs did however support legally binding goals for the reuse of at least 70 per cent for municipal solid waste and 80 per cent for packaging waste by 2030, and called for a 50 per cent reduction of marine litter.
The resolution also asks for a ban on the incineration of recyclable and biodegradable waste by 2020, putting an end to subsidies for incineration, gradually phasing out of landfilling, and mandatory separate collection schemes.
Furthermore, the parliament position wants to see measures to improve the durability and recyclability of products, among others by extending the scope of the Ecodesign directive to all product groups and introducing a product passport, which would include information on the resource-efficiency features of items.
Finally, the final text foresees an important role for existing chemicals legislation and the European Chemicals Agency in speeding up the phasing out of toxic substances to improve the quality and safety of recycled products. Now that the EP has its official stance, and the public consultation is set to be concluded in August, commission sources suggest that the EU executive will be aiming at putting forward a new proposal as early as October this year.
Expectations are high, as estimates expect one per cent additional GDP growth and 2 million new jobs to be created in the next 15 years if EU-wide actions are undertaken swiftly.
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