BRUSSELS EU lawmakers backed more ambitious recycling targets on Tuesday, setting Europe on track to drastically reduce reliance on landfill sites to dispose of waste after 2030.
The European Parliament voted to increase the percentage of municipal waste that goes to recycling to 70 percent and cut the amount destined for landfill to 5 percent by 2030, up from initial proposals of 65 percent and 10 percent respectively.
For packaging, recycling rates were set at 80 percent in the draft bill, again a slight increase from 75 percent in the initial proposals.
"Decoupling growth and waste and turning waste into a new resource is a major opportunity for European society and industry," said Karl-Heinz Florenz, a German lawmaker for centre-right EPP group.
At present just under half of the European Union's waste is recycled, though rates vary widely across the 28 nation bloc. Just 8 percent of Maltese municipal waste is recycled while in Germany two-thirds is recycled and none is sent to dumps.
After the Parliamentary vote, the draft legislation will now be discussed with the European Commission and member states before becoming law.
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by David Clarke)