CAMEC 2021
New circular economy package disappoints

New circular economy package disappoints

The European Commission has released a set of proposals aiming to make Europe more resource-efficient, but most of the legally binding targets have been watered down compared to the previous 2014 package.

Proposals issued include a legally binding recycling rate of 65% across the EU by 2030 and a maximum limit to the amount of household waste that can be landfilled at 10% by the same year. The package will include a new Ecodesign working plan aimed at setting product design requirements for manufacturers so that goods are made to last longer and are more repairable and recyclable.

However, the waste targets are all weaker than those proposed in the 2014 version of the package, which the Commission withdrew with the sole argument that this was necessary to deliver more ambition.

This is a non-exhaustive comparison table on the major differences between the 2014 and 2015 Circular Economy Packages:


2014 proposal

2015 proposal


Recycling target of household waste

70% by 2030

65% by 2030

Estonia, Greece, Croatia, Latvia, Malta, Romania and Slovakia may apply for 5 additional years to meet the target

Recycling target of packaging waste

80% by 2030

75% by 2030

Indicative target for food waste

30% food waste reduction in 2025 from 2017 level

No target although proposal for a harmonized methodology and reference to Sustainable Development Goals

Landfilling target

Aspirational target for a maximum of 5% non-hazardous household waste that can be landfilled in 2030 if not recyclable or compostable + ban on recyclable and compostable waste going to landfill

Maximum limit of 10% of household waste can be landfilled in 2030 (binding restriction) but that can include recyclable and compostable waste

Separate collection of biowaste

Ensure separate collection of biowaste by 2025

Ensure separate collection of biowaste as long as technically, economically and environmentally possible

Resource efficiency target

Indicative 30% target based on Raw Material Consumption

No mention

Focus of reducing resource use in Ecodesign policy

Covered although no deadlines set

Covered with indicative deadlines

Preventing obsolescence of products

Not mentioned

Independent testing programme on identification of issues related to planned obsolescence (2018) as part of non-binding action plan.

Quality standard for recycling

Mentioned as exemplary feature of circular economy, but not addressed as such

Development of quality standards for secondary raw materials (in particular for plastics) but as part of the non-binding action plan.

Information on resources in a product

Already covered in the WEEE Directive of 2012

Improve exchange of information between manufacturers and recyclers on electronic products


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