The European Parliamentâ€"the legislative branch of the European Unionâ€"voted Tuesday for binding, EU-wide waste reduction goals. The resolution calls for waste production levels in all EU countries to be frozen at 2008 levels by 2012 and to decrease below that mark by 2020. It also mandates that 50% of municipal waste and 70% of industrial waste should be recycled by 2020.
The BBC reports that due to the complicated political structure of the EU the proposal will likely not be implemented as it stands, but that it still is an important step on the road to waste reduction:
If, as expected, governments reject binding waste prevention and recycling targets, the [parliament and EU President] will attempt to reach a compromise in a process known as conciliation. [UK MEP] Carline Jackson said the recycling targets might be "unrealistic" but they provided something to aim at.
Recycling rates in the EU range from a high of 63% in Austria to a low of 3% in Poland.
What You Can Do