Waste has often been a source of pollution, but well managed waste can be a valuable source of materials, especially when many are becoming scarce. Good waste management can make a big contribution to economic growth and job creation.


Latest articles

Europe is tackling plastics waste head-on with an ambitious new strategy that proposes to make all plastic packaging recyclable or reusable by 2030. Part of the transition towards a more circular economy, the goal is to reduce pollution whilst fostering growth and innovation – “a true win...


In the EU, we currently use 100 billion bags per year. This is a tremendous waste because very often they are only used once. Many end up in our oceans and seas. One recent measure in combating this resource waste and littering is the new EU Plastic Bags Directive. It obliges Member States to...


Creating a real circular economy in Europe, where natural resources are saved and nothing is wasted, means going beyond the theory to confront specific problems in individual sectors and finding the techniques to resolve them. This is now happening in the plasterboard industry. 


Each year, an estimated 88 million tonnes of food is wasted in the EU, which is around 20 % of food produced. Globally, food waste is thought to consume a quarter of all water used for farming.


Ten years ago, the European Court of Justice found Ireland guilty of systemic failures in complying with the Waste Framework Directive. Pat Fenton, environment attaché at the Irish Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels, looks back at a case he worked on from the start.


The European Commission has just closed a decade-long case against Ireland for multiple and systemic infringement of the EU Waste Framework Directive. 


On 2 July 2014, as part of a range of proposals to accelerate Europe’s transition to a more circular economy, which seeks to maximise the value of the resources we all use, the European Commission proposed a review of recycling and other waste-related targets. The aim is to set more ambitious goals...


On 2 July 2014, the European Commission adopted new proposals to improve the environmental performance of buildings throughout their life cycle, from design, construction, through operation, to demolition and recycling of their materials.


Most European citizens sort their rubbish for recycling at least some of the time. They think their country produces too much waste, and they say it is important that Europe uses its resources more efficiently.


Millions of tonnes of litter end up in the oceans, on beaches, and scattered around forests and other natural areas every year – but European citizens are fighting back. Volunteers and grassroots initiatives across Europe are already making a difference by cleaning up local neighbourhoods and...


Communities, NGOs, public authorities and businesses all participated in the 2014 edition of Green Week, the biggest annual conference on European environment policy, which took place from 3 to 5 June in Brussels, Belgium. The theme this year was the circular economy, saving resources and creating...


We all use plastic bags. In fact, Europeans get through almost 100 billion of them every year – with 8 billion ending up as litter. To tackle the environmental impact, the European Commission has proposed changes to EU regulation on waste.


The European Union must increasingly move towards a circular economy where products are reused and recovered, not thrown away, when they come to the end of their natural lives. That message came through loud and clear as leading experts examined how to tackle the growing problem of plastic waste at a...


In recent years, national inspections have consistently shown that EU rules on shipping waste are systematically broken. The violations are a serious danger to human health and the environment. The Commission has presented a package of measures to deal with the problem and clamp down on illegal...


Plastic is one of the most common materials in our daily lives. It is used for a wide range of purposes because it is cheap, versatile, light and durable. However, those very characteristics make it extremely hard to dispose of. The European Commission is now developing a strategy for coping with...


The European Union has set itself various targets for recovering and recycling waste, ranging from packaging to cars and electrical goods. Some countries are more efficient at reaching these than others. A new Commission report * underlines the need for economic instruments if the goals are to be...


The Hong Kong Convention, adopted in May 2009, sets out rules to ensure that ships are recycled in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. Drawing on the provisions of the Convention, the Commission has proposed legislation defining standards that owners of commercial EU-flagged ships will have...