Slide background
Empowering Our Communities To Redesign

10th anniversary of EU recycling rules marked by green groups

10 February 2017, Brussels

On 13 February 2007, Members of the European Parliament voted in pioneering waste rules that have led to higher recycling rates across Europe. [1] They must now keep momentum and vote for more ambitious recycling targets as well as binding measures to reduce waste generation.

Thanks to the 2007 legislation, recycling rates have steadily grown across the EU:

  • In 2015, 46% of municipal waste generated in the EU was recycled, as opposed to 36% in 2007. [2]
  • The highest increases between 2007 and 2015 came from Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Italy (20–32%). [3]
  • Landfilling rates in the European Union fell from 43% in 2007 to 26% in 2015. [4]

The improvements show that binding recycling targets have a big impact on waste management. However, waste prevention by repair and reuse is also necessary to close the loop of our economy.

Ferran Rosa, Waste Policy Officer at Zero Waste Europe (ZWE), said:

“The Waste Framework Directive was the first step to a more resource-efficient Europe. After 10 years, it is the moment for Member States and the European Parliament to step up the ambition, both in the law and in the implementation

In mid-March, the European Parliament will have a chance to renew its ambition, and vote for long-needed binding targets on waste prevention and higher recycling targets.

NGOs have called for mandatory measures to improve separate collection for all waste streams, including bio-waste, a 70% recycling target for 2030 as well as stronger rules on producer responsibility aimed at driving eco-design.


 Action of February 13 2007. Source: Friends of the Earth Europe Action of February 13 2007. Source: Friends of the Earth Europe
Action of February 13 2007. Source: Friends of the Earth Europe


Note to Editors

[1] On 13 February 2007, the European Parliament approved the Waste Framework Directive,
introducing a 50% legally-binding target for the recycling of waste and compulsory separate collection for paper, metal, glass and plastic.

·        The European Parliament’s Environment Committee approved the legislative amendments on 24 January 2017.

·        The European Parliament will vote in Plenary between 13th and 16th March 2017 (date to be confirmed).

·        Member States will decide whether to approve the amendments later in 2017.

[2], [3], [4] Eurostat 2017. Latest data on waste management.


Piotr Barczak, Waste Policy Officer, European Environmental Bureau:

Meadhbh Bolger, Resource Justice Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe:

Ferran Rosa, Waste Policy Officer, Zero Waste Europe:

Leave a comment