Eunomia was commissioned to examine the potential role of “mixed waste sorting” (MWS) to complement separate collections of municipal waste in the EU, and to consider whether higher levels of recycling and improved climate change performance can be achieved through this further sorting of municipal waste for recycling prior to thermal treatment or landfill, i.e., “mixed waste sorting” (MWS)

The results were considered through the lens of the policy framework in the EU according to which each
member state is obligated to achieve the:

  • Key packaging waste recycling targets by material in 2025 and 2030; in particular the plastic packaging waste recycling target of 55% by 2030 established in the 2018 revision to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD)
  • Municipal waste recycling target of 60% by 2030 established in the 2018 revision of the Waste
    Framework Directive (WFD), increasing to 65% by 2035.

However, as this report will demonstrate, improved separate collection and improved recyclability of
plastics alone will not be sufficient to meet these objectives for all materials, and particularly for plastics.
More will need to be done if the EU is to meet its targets – with the ongoing revision of the WFD
representing a good opportunity for the Commission to intervene. In these cases, MWS makes important
contributions to the recycling and carbon emissions reductions targets that are likely to be necessary for
their overall attainment.

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