The European commission has put forward a proposal to increase the EU’s recycling targets, tackle food waste and create green jobs in member states, to switch from a linear to a circular economy and promote sustainable growth.
The proposal outlines plans for a 70% recycling targets of municipal waste by 2030 and a 30% food waste reduction by 2025. It also suggests a full traceability of hazardous waste and measures to reduce the amount of recyclable waste in landfills by 2025, while creating related green jobs and improve sustainability in buildings.
The plan is based on the principles of a circular economy, which focuses on reusing, recycling and repairing products and materials instead of throwing these away – as it occurs in the so-called linear economy.
Environment commissioner Janez Potočnik said, “If we want to compete we have to get the most out of our resources, and that means recycling them back into productive use, not burying them in landfills as waste. Moving to a circular economy is not only possible, it is profitable, but that does not mean it will happen without the right policies.
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“The 2030 targets that we propose are about taking action today to accelerate the transition to a circular economy and exploiting the business and job opportunities it offers.”
However, some argued that the EU measures do not go far enough, as they do not consider resources that Europe imports from other countries.
Friends of the Earth resource use campaigner Richard Dyer said, “These proposals are weak and insufficient and don’t give a full picture of all the resources Europe consumes, such as the land and water we use to make our products.
“A 70% recycling target by 2030 is a big step forward, but if the EU really wants to take this issue seriously it must start measuring all the land, water, carbon and materials Europe is responsible for using – and set out clear plans to reduce them.”
Photo: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources via flickr