Under EU rules, Malta faces mandatory recycling targets by 2025

The share of municipal waste to be recycled will rise to 55% by 2025, from 44% today, under legislation on circular economy backed by Environment MEPs on Tuesday. 

Landfilling has to radically decrease by 2025
Landfilling has to radically decrease by 2025

Malta will have to adhered to strict recycling targets by 2025, when a €150 million incinerator is expected to be operational.

As the small island struggles with a ‘waste crisis’ – the main landfill at Ghallis will soon run out of space for a growing volume of waste – incineration through a waste-to-energy plant will have to be deployed to dispose of the waste.

But by 2025, at least 55% of municipal waste from households and businesses should be recycled, under new EU rules on the so called circular economy.

The legal text has already been agreed by EU member states’ ambassadors in Brussels and was yesterday backed by MEPs in the European Parliament’s environment committee.

The target for recycling will then will rise to 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035. 65% of packaging materials will have to be recycled by 2025, and 70% by 2030. Separate targets are set for specific packaging materials, such as paper and cardboard, plastics, glass, metal and wood.

Member states will also have to ensure that as of 2030, all waste suitable for recycling is not accepted in a landfill. The draft law also limits the share of municipal waste to be landfilled to a maximum of 10% by 2035.

“After lengthy negotiations with the Council, we have succeeded in bringing home a great result that lays new foundations for sustainable European economic and social development. Member states will be obliged to follow clear and common measures on the life cycle of raw materials and waste disposal”, said lead socialist MEP Simona Bonafè. 

“The package, in line with the UN's sustainable development objectives, also reduces food waste by 50% and aims for a 65% recycling threshold by all member states. A battle that will make the economy of the Old Continent one of the most virtuous in the world.” 

The EP plenary is to vote during the 16-18 April plenary session in Strasbourg. The draft has already been informally agreed with the Council of Ministers.

Statistics for 2014 suggest that 44% of all municipal waste in the EU is recycled or composted. This compares to just 31% in 2004, and by 2020 EU member states should be recycling or composting over 50% of waste.

 In 2014, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden sent virtually no municipal waste to landfill, whereas Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Latvia and Malta still landfill more than three quarters of their municipal waste.

Although waste management in the EU has improved considerably in recent decades, almost a third of municipal waste is still landfilled and less than half is recycled or composted, with wide variations between member states.

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