Economic competitiveness and jobs depend on getting maximum value from the materials we use. When we throw products away, we can still get more value from those materials if we can extract them, recycle or reuse them.
Joanna Drake, Deputy Director General of DG Environment, European Commission, is in Sofia today to explain how Bulgaria can get on a “virtuous circle” where resources are used efficiently, creating business opportunities for re-manufacturing, repair, re-use, product sharing and for recycling. Ms Drake will highlight that the Commission is there to help Member States by offering technical assistance, structural fund support and support in the exchange of best practices. To that end, she is bringing with her experts that can explain how they have broken away from linear “extract-produce-consumer-throw away” models. Quick progress is necessary and possible if the respective national and local authorities take action on the ground. The programme will include a round table with national, local and business representatives as well as a conference on the transition to a green economy in Bulgaria organised by the Bulgaria Economic Forum. This is the third event in a series of ‘Virtuous Circles’ missions to 12 EU Member States.
Ms Drake said: “My visit to Sofia is to emphasise that a structural reform of the waste management system will accelerate Bulgaria’s transition towards a more competitive circular economy. This is not something for the environment ministry and the waste agencies only. Cross-ministerial co-operation is essential to implement the recently adopted policies, in particular on Extended Producer Responsibility and on separate collection of waste. It is important to recognise that there are also significant business and employment opportunities in the good application of these polices, next to the clear environmental benefits”.
Compliance with EU waste legislation is an essential part of the solution. The structural reforms and investment in better waste management will also provide profitable business opportunities and potential jobs, particularly for cities and regions. The aim of the ‘Virtuous Circles’ missions is to share ideas and best practices from across the EU to tap into these opportunities, while improving the implementation of EU rules on waste on the ground. For example separate collection and processing of biowaste, a requirement from 2023, will bring on tap thousands of tons of potential nutrients or biogas.
14 EU countries, including Bulgaria, were shortlisted as being at risk of missing the 2020 recycling target on municipal waste in a Commission report on implementation of waste legislation, including the Early Warning report adopted on 24 September 2018. For each Member State the Commission presented blueprints for action to ensure compliance with EU waste legislation.
7 December 2018