Janez Potočnik, European commissioner for the environment, states that EU members need to use their resources more efficiently in order to compete in the global economy. Alex Blackburne looks into the warnings.
A new recession might be on the horizon if we continue to waste valuable natural resources, the European Union’s environment commissioner has warned.
Janez Potočnik has predicted that unless things change, the EU will revert back to the difficult times it experienced from 2007 onwards – a downturn that is still affecting the union now.
“It’s very difficult to imagine [lifting Europe out of recession] without growth, and very difficult to imagine growth without competitiveness, and very difficult to be competitive without resource efficiency“, Potočnik told The Guardian.
“We have simply no choice. We have to use what we have more efficiently, or we will fail to compete. Resource efficiency is a real competitiveness issue for European companies.”
In food terms, the UK has performed better of late, wasting less. But £12 billion worth is still thrown away each year, according to the Government’s waste adviser, WRAP.
Another study by WRAP, called Realising the Reuse Value of Household WEEE (Waste, Electrical and Electronic Equipment) explored the potentially lucrative industry of electronics recycling. £220m could be made from reusing just a quarter of the UK’s electronic waste.
“This is an issue of competitiveness,” Potočnik continued. “China is understanding that this is a megatrend. We can’t ignore it.”
“If our current living standards are to be maintained, and the aspirations of developing countries satisfied, then the global economy will need to be changed drastically“.
“If we want things to stay the same, things will have to change. This will be an enormous pressure on resources, which we are already overusing.”
Blue & Green Tomorrow recommends you look at the Ethical Superstore to find out how to be more resource efficient when shopping.
Picture source: Friends of Europe