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EU Green Week eyes a transition away from ‘throwaway culture’



EU Green Week 2014 kicks off on Tuesday in Brussels, focusing on how to make Europe more resource efficient in order to “break its linear approach to consumption”. The three-day conference will see around 100 speakers discuss sustainability and a new model for Europe.

The event takes place at the Egg Conference Centre in Brussels and will feature talks by a range of business leaders and NGOs, presenting green solutions to waste and resource efficiency.

Speakers include academics, the UN and businesses including Unilever, Veolia, Jaguar Land Rover and the Kingfisher Group.

Janez Potočnik, environment commissioner for the EU, said, “Europe’s competitiveness will be determined by its ability to use resources efficiently and there will be no place for waste. We need to move away from our throwaway culture and switch to a more circular model, cutting waste and turning it into a resource.

“That means innovative products designed to last, to be repaired and to be recycled, and business models to match. New businesses, new jobs, less environmental impact and a better quality of life for all Europeans.”

The ultimate aim of the summit is to discuss ways in which Europe can move from a linear to a circular economy, one where things are not produced, consumed and wasted, but instead they are reused thanks to zero-waste policies.

The initiative will also allow cities to submit an application for the title of European Green Capital in 2017.

Piotr Barczak, policy officer for waste at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and a panellist at the conference, said, “Green Week is an important opportunity to re-iterate how we can get to a circular economy. The time for thinking about it as a pilot project is over. What we now need is a set of regulatory and economic instruments to trigger systemic change in Europe. Now is the time for action.”

Photo: Lydia_shiningbrightly via Flickr

Further reading:

Switching to a ‘circular’ economy will unlock crucial investment

Online portal launched to help manufacturers recycle

Sustainable plastics: the world’s future materials

Economy or environment: why choose?

‘Landfill ban’ would boost jobs and economy, Green Alliance says


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