December 21, 2005

EU says waste rising fast, states must recycle more

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will tell its 25
member states to develop national programs to tackle soaring
waste levels as part of a bid to create a "recycling society,"
officials said on Wednesday.

The European Commission announced plans to toughen up its
30-year-old rules on the treatment of waste, set new recycling
standards, streamline existing laws and tighten up regulation
of the whole sector.

"Waste volume has been disproportionately increasing,
outpacing even economic growth," said Environment Commissioner
Stavros Dimas, estimating that municipal waste in the bloc rose
19 percent from 1995 to 2003.

The increase means that reliance on landfill -- widely
considered among the least ecologically sound ways of dealing
with waste -- has fallen only gradually despite greater efforts
at recycling, the EU executive said in a statement.

The revamped rules, and a first set of standards for waste
recycling, are expected to enter force in 2008. National
governments will then have three years to finalize their own
waste action programs.