Circular economy: EC recommends actions to boost recycling in 18 Member States

09 June 2023

In a report published on 8 June 2023, the European Commission identified Member States that are at risk of not meeting the 2025 targets set for preparing for re-use & recycling for municipal and all packaging waste, as well as the 2035 landfilling targets.

This ‘early warning report’ assesses the likelihood that Member States will meet the 2025 recycling targets set out in the Waste Framework Directive and the Directive on packaging and packaging waste:

  • 55% recycling and preparing for reuse of municipal waste;
  • 65% recycling for total packaging waste;
  • and material-specific packaging waste recycling targets (75% for paper and cardboard, 70% for glass, 70% for ferrous metals packaging, 50% for aluminium, 50% for plastic and 25% for wood).

The report also provides a preliminary assessment on the target of reducing landfilling of municipal waste to less than 10% by 2035.

Out of the 27, nine are on track to meet the 2025 targets: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Slovenia.

However, the remaining 18 Member States are at risk of either missing one target or both of the 2025 targets.

  • Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Latvia, Portugal, Spain and Sweden are at risk of missing the municipal waste target.
  • Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovakia are at risk of missing both the targets for municipal and overall packaging waste for 2025

Some countries also continue to landfill most of their municipal waste and will probably fail to meet the 2035 landfilling target.

The Commissions presents recommendations to these Member States, building on continuous financial and technical support provided for improving performance on waste management. These recommendations cover a broad range of actions: reducing non-recyclable waste, increasing reuse, boosting separate collection, developing waste treatment capacities for sorting and recycling, improving governance, deploying economic instruments and awareness-raising. Although this support by the Commission, national authorities are responsible for intensifying policy efforts and stepping up action on the ground.

Furthermore, the Commission has presented initiatives that contribute to a more circular economy and will support Member States in improving performance in waste management and reaching the targets, such as the proposals for new regulations on Waste shipments, Packaging and Packing Waste and on Ecodesign for sustainable products.