EU targets textiles, batteries and packaging in plan to halve waste by 2030

By Marine Strauss
FILE PHOTO: A crane lifts scrap metal at Scholz scrap metal recycling plant in Espenhain

By Marine Strauss

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Recycling textiles, batteries and packaging will be the priority in a new plan to halve waste in the European Union by 2030, the head of the EU's "Green Deal" said on Tuesday.

Frans Timmermans, who is leading the EU's drive to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, told European lawmakers in Brussels that the share of materials recovered and recycled in the EU economy had to increase, or "by 2050 we would need three planets to sustain our consumption habits."

"It's not about forcing our citizens to go live in caves and eat grass, it's about ensuring a high level of comfort, of development in a new economy," said Timmermans, who is also vice-president of the European Commission, the EU's executive.

Under the new plan, the Commision will present initiatives aimed at prolonging the life of products such as electronic devices, and encourage consumers to seek repairs.

France has taken a lead with the adoption last month of its first anti-waste law. This will ban all disposable plastics by 2040, including packaging for household and skincare products, disposable cutlery in fast food restaurants, plastic tea bags and confetti. Bans for some items will start from January 2021.

Junior environment minister Brune Poirson told reporters in Brussels that the new French law would as a priority tighten regulation covering planned obsolescence in electronics and unsold stocks in the fashion industry.

France also became the first country in the world to commit to introducing filters on new washing machines from January 2025 to reduce the spread of plastic microfibers from synthetic clothing, which make up of a third of plastic particles that end up in waste waters and contribute to pollution in the oceans.

The European Commission is due to present its so-called circular economy plan for a less wasteful future on March 10, along with a new European industrial strategy.


(Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine; Editing by Mark Potter)