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Neligan, Adriana
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IW Policy Paper 9/2018
The European Commission aims to push forward the concepts of 'recycle, repair and re-use' as well as waste avoidance. Two years after adopting the Circular Economy Package, EU institutions finally agreed on new EU waste rules. Despite lower recycling targets as originally envisaged, most countries still have to push recycling to meet the goals. A single method of determining recycling rates was also decided, but an exemption rule will continue to allow for disparate recycling rates. Only ten countries including Germany are on track with their currently reported recycling rates to achieve the first goal of 55 per cent by 2025, assuming they keep up their recycling efforts of the past decade. Germany is leading the recycling hierarchy with 66 per cent, much more than on EU average. However, according to the new calculation method, Germany's recycling rate would drop to between 47 and 52 per cent. In this case, the German recycling rate would have to rise between 0.7 and 0.9 percentage points annually until 2035 to achieve 65 per cent. Looking back, Germany only managed 0.5 percentage points annually over the past decade based on the current method. Hence, Germany would have to push recycling and focus on more high-quality recycling. Fortunately, the country is a role model not only for its long recycling tradition and modern waste management, but also for its global leadership in recycling technologies.
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