The ambitious policies and waste recycling targets that have been proposed by the European Commission recently are expected to drive Europe’s economy towards a more circular model, boost growth and create new jobs. The proposed measures will help ensure that Europeans get the most out of their natural resources and raw materials, while having a more positive impact on the environment. Read more…
The policy framework presented with the Commission Communication ‘Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe’ combines regulation, financial incentives, voluntary agreements and market-based instruments. It covers all stages of the production and consumption ‘loop’ in a circular economy. The priorities of the waste hierarchy are addressed with measures for preventing food waste and marine litter, preparing for re-use and recycling targets of 70% for municipal waste and 80% for packaging waste by 2030, and a landfill ban on recyclable waste by 2025.
An increase of 30% in Europe’s overall resource productivity by 2030 has been identified as a candidate for a headline target to help drive the move towards a circular economy further. Such a development, recommended by the European Resource Efficiency Platform, would increase gross domestic product GDP with 3%, while creating 2 million more jobs than would be the case in a business-as-usual scenario.
The new targets are planned to become part of waste legislation through an amendment to existing European Union (EU) Directives, such as the EU Waste Framework Directive and the EU Landfill Directive. The proposed European waste review has been supported by key industry stakeholders such as the Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE), the European Organisation for Packaging and the Environment (Europen), the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and the European Plastics Converters (EuPC). Several organisations offered their cooperation and invited other stakeholders to embrace the new objectives.
The renewed resource efficiency agenda is also supported by the recent Communication on sustainable buildings, the Green Employment Initiative and the Green Action Plan for SMEs. The new approach should help align the efforts of individual Member States with those of the European Commission. Several Member States have already developed their own initiatives to achieve a circular economy, including Germany, France, Netherlands and the UK.
The legislative proposal on waste will now pass to the European Council and European Parliament for discussion after the summer recess. The European Commission will further develop the initiatives announced in the Circular Economy Communication and is also planning to launch a Communication on sustainable food soon.
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