Parliament backs deal to reduce harmful chemicals in waste

  • Stricter limits for persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
  • Removal of POPs from recycling chains
  • New chemicals to be added to list of harmful substances

In order to create a toxic-free environment and a real circular economy, MEPs agreed on Tuesday to impose stricter limits on persistent organic pollutants.

Plenary adopted the new rules on persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and how to manage waste that contains them, with 534 votes to 25 and 66 abstentions.

While POPs are generally not present in new products, they can still be found in waste and hence pose a threat to the environment and to human health. In order to protect the circular lifespan of products, materials containing levels of POPs above the new and reduced concentration limits will have to be destroyed and cannot be recycled.

This is to ensure EU rules align with international obligations, above all the Stockholm Convention on POPs, and the EU Green Deal, in particular the ambition for a toxic-free environment and a real circular economy.

More details about the new rules are available here.


After the vote, rapporteur Martin Hojsík (Renew, SK) said: “Our goal is to protect our health and the environment and to ensure a truly circular economy, free from toxic chemicals. The outcome of negotiations with member states is a step in the right direction. We have shown commitment to the implementation of the Stockholm Convention, which is clear: the only way to deal with POPs – one of the most dangerous chemicals we know – is to work towards eliminating them.”

Next steps

Once formally adopted by the Council, the new rules will apply six months after publication in the EU Official Journal.