(Bloomberg) -- Most European Union nations are at risk of missing the bloc’s plastic recycling targets as they continue to burn waste.
Austria, Finland and France are among 19 of 27 EU countries at risk of missing a target for recycling 50% of plastics by 2025, according to an early warning report released on Thursday by the European Commission. It didn’t provide a figure for the current recycling rate for plastic, which is considered the worst polluter for biospheres and marine habitats.
The report comes as the EU looks to overhaul how it handles packaging waste, which increased to 80 million tons in 2020. Moves to boost recycling of products like beer bottles have met with pushback from some member states. The EU is under pressure to get those rules passed before elections in 12 months time, as it faces criticism over its environmental and climate policy.
“We still have growing volumes of waste, which is incinerated or burnt. That’s the worst that can happen,” Virginijus Sinkevicius, the EU’s environment commissioner, said in an interview this week.
The recycling rate for all packaging dropped to 64% in 2020, below the EU’s target for 2025, according to the report. It didn’t examine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which boosted consumption of disposable items.
Sweden is among 18 member states at risk of missing a 55% target for recycling municipal waste within the next two years. About one third of that is biowaste, which could be used as a fertilizer or to produce biogas.
In some east European countries, more than half of the waste ends up in landfills, the most hazardous way of disposal. There are 13 states that are still far off the target of disposing of a maximum of 10% of municipal waste in landfills by 2035.
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