Local councils could be required to recycle 70% of household waste and 80% of packaging by 2030, under new EU proposals announced yesterday by the European Commission.
The proposal would also see a total ban by 2025 on sending waste to landfill that could have been recycled. According to the Commission the new targets could create over half a million jobs across the EU.
While there has been a significant increase in recycling in the UK in recent years, there would still be a long way to go to meet the new targets. According to government figures, 43.2% of waste in England was recycled in 2012-2013, up from just 12% in 2001.
South East MEP, Catherine Bearder, who sits on the European Parliament Environment Committee that is set to adopt or amend the recycling targets, welcomed the proposals and said she would work to ensure they were both ambitious and workable.
Mrs Bearder commented:
"Every year thousands of tons of perfectly recyclable waste end up being thrown away and buried in landfill sites or burnt.
"This makes no sense for the environment or the local economy.
"These ambitious recycling targets will help us make the most out of our dwindling natural resources and create new jobs in the area.
"I'll now be working closely with local councils to see how these targets can best be met while maximising benefits for the local economy."
Mrs Bearder is a longstanding environmental campaigner and has worked with councils in the past to promote and improve recycling in the region.
As part of her "Don't Rubbish Our Recycling" campaign, she asked local authorities to disclose how they deal with recycled waste to ensure it does not end up in landfills or being dumped in the developing world.