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Did you Know?
The European Commission is realising that waste, when recycled, can be a valuable economic source (referred to as circular economy). Thereby, to facilitate EU’s transition to a circular economy it has developed four legislative proposals.
EDC News: EU Circular Economy
Over the years, the EU has put in place a number of directives, e.g. DIR/1994/62, DIR/1999/31/EC, DIR/2008/98/EC, that have facilitated in the improvement of waste management and its reduction. Although this is the case, Member States are still generating high levels of waste. It is estimated that within the EU approximately 6 tonnes of waste per person per year is being produced, of which a third is landfilled and less than half is recycled.
The development of various policies for reducing waste, such as recycling, has led to the realisation that waste can be converted into a valuable commodity. However, European economy is missing out on this potential as secondary raw materials' such as metals, wood, glass, paper, plastics is still going to waste. To address this loss the European Commission implemented the ‘circular economy package’, whose underlying principle is the reuse of a product (that has reached the end of its life-cycle) to create further value and to generate economic benefits.
“Our planet and our economy cannot survive if we continue with the ‘take, make, use and throw away’ approach. We need to retain precious resources and exploit the potential economic value within them. The circular economy is about reducing waste and protecting the environment, but it is also about creating economic opportunities and competitive advantages.” Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission.
The ‘circular economy package’ contains amended proposals on waste and an all-inclusive Action plan. The proposal provides an unambiguous long term vision to optimize recycling and reduce land filling, taking into account the differences in the situation of each Member State while proposing effective methods of approaching the issue of waste management. The amended proposal aims to create a common EU target for recycling municipal waste of 65% by 2030, recycling packaging waste of 75% by 2030 and a binding landfill reduction target of 10%.
The implementation of circular economy will yield, through access to high quality and affordable materials, a more competitive economy and sustainable growth in job creation.
“These proposals give a positive signal to those waiting to invest in the circular economy. Today we are saying that Europe is the best place to grow a sustainable and environmentally-friendly business. The job creation potential of the circular economy is huge, and the demand for better and more efficient products and services is booming.” Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.
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