Time to bring waste full circle

Leading NGOs have called on the EU to use a broad mix of legal and economic instruments as part of an ambitious package when it proposes its review of waste policy next month. In a joint statement they highlight ten steps the EU should take to make its waste policy more resource-efficient, which include increasing the recycling target for municipal solid waste to 70%, introducing binding waste prevention targets including one for food waste prevention, banning landfilling and incineration by 2020 for all recyclable and compostable waste, and promoting extended producer responsibility and resource taxation schemes.

The European Commission will soon revise a number of directives which will help EU countries to improve their waste management . A recent EEB study showed that adopting an ambitious scenario in this revision could lead to substantial economic and environmental benefits, including cutting greenhouse gas emissions by over 415 million tones and helping to employ 860,000 people, or one in every six young Europeans who are currently jobless.

Piotr Barczak, Policy Officer for Waste at the EEB said: “The review of waste policy is an opportunity to set Europe on a path towards resource efficiency. The EU depends on imports for most of its valuable materials, yet many of these end up in landfills and incinerators. This is not just a missed opportunity, it is pure folly.”

The NGO statement is being issued ahead of Clean Up Europe Day on Saturday 10 May, when citizens from across the European continent can take part in a day of action to clean up their neighbourhoods. These events are organised to raise citizens’ awareness about the size of the litter problem in Europe and to help change people’s behaviour.

Piotr Barczak added: “These initiatives show us the scale of the problem we are facing. But the real way to fight waste is not to generate so much of it in the first place. And that can only happen if the EU is ambitious enough in its review of waste policy and includes stringent prevention, reuse and recycling targets.”

Source: envirocentre.ie