Click here to go back to News listing.February 24, 2012
Despite the economic downturn the EU is determined to divert 100% of the waste produced within its member countries from landfills by 2020. Increasing resource efficiency and treating waste as a resource will be major players in this quest.
To achieve a zero waste economy the EU Commission has published a series of documents that highlight the importance of resource efficiency and the sustainable use of natural resources throughout the EU.
Nowadays all EU countries produce and dispose 2.7bn tonnes of waste annually of which 98m tonnes is hazardous and only 40% of the EU’s solid waste is re-used or recycled.
Many will say that for the EU to achieve a zero waste economy by 2020 will be virtually impossible but a series of new regulations that will be implemented within the next few years should ensure that.
According to the “A Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe” (series of publications aimed to provide guidance for EU countries, businesses and public towards the Zero Waste economy), three conditions need to be fulfilled:
First, coordinated action in a wide range of policy areas and this action needs political visibility and support.
Second, act urgently due to long investment lead-times. While some actions will have a positive impact on growth and jobs in the short-term, others require an upfront investment and have long pay-back times, but will bring real economic benefits for the EU economy for decades to come.
Third, empower consumers to move to resource-efficient consumption, to drive continuous innovation and ensure that efficiency gains are not lost.
How the EU Commission plans to achieve its plans:
“The Commission aims to stimulate the secondary materials market and demand for recycled materials through economic incentives and developing end-of-waste criteria; review existing targets, with residual waste close to zero (in 2014); assess the introduction of minimum recycled material rates, durability and reusability criteria and extensions of producer responsibility for key products (in 2012); assess where legislation could be aligned to improve coherence (in 2013/2014); facilitate the exchange of best practice on collection and treatment of waste among member states and develop measures to combat more effectively breaches of EU waste rules (in 2013/2014).”
Above all waste must be managed as a resource as stated by the EU Commission documentation:
“By 2020, waste is managed as a resource. Waste generated per capita is in absolute decline. Recycling and re-use of waste are economically attractive options for public and private sectors due to widespread separate collection and the development of functional markets for secondary raw materials. More materials, including materials having a significant impact on the environment and critical raw materials, are recycled. Waste legislation is fully implemented… Energy recovery is limited to non-recyclable materials, land filling is virtually eliminated and high quality recycling is ensured.”
So I end this article the way it started: