The EU has proposed higher recycling targets in a bid to transform Europe's economy into one where nothing is wasted, supporting sustainable growth.
Under the new targets, European countries would
Anticipated benefits include
Reuse, repair, recycle
The EU is working towards a "circular economy" in Europe, in which reusing, repairing and recycling materials is the norm - instead of extracting raw materials, using them once and discarding them.
In 2010, some 400 - 500 million tonnes of waste that could have been reused or recycled were instead landfilled or burned in Europe. Making the most of our resources could boost EU competitiveness on the global stage and reduce our reliance on increasingly scarce – and expensive – raw materials.
A new target to improve resource productivity – the ratio of an economy's Gross Domestic Product to its consumption of raw materials – could be set as part of the plans.
Improving efficiency, creating new jobs
The EU says the move towards a circular economy can be driven by
This will help European citizens enjoy a cleaner and healthier environment, as well as longer-lasting products. For businesses, costs will fall by an estimated 8% of annual turnover.
The proposals come alongside a series of EU initiatives to seize the growth and employment opportunities offered by greening the economy, and to make new buildings more environment-friendly.