THE EUROPEAN Commission announced this week that it has adopted proposals to turn Europe into a more circular economy and boost recycling across the Member States by 2030.
New waste targets will be introduced and, if achieved, will create 580,000 new jobs whilst reducing the amount of greenhouse gases and lowering the impact on the environment.
The proposals ask Europeans to recycle 70% of municipal waste and 80% of packaging waste by 2030, and ban burying recyclable waste in landfill as of 2025. A target is also included for reducing marine litter along with food waste reduction objectives.
The review to strengthen waste targets in existing directives is part of the Commission’s drive towards a more circular economy. Instead of extracting raw materials, using them once and throwing them away, a circular economy means much more is re-used, repaired and recycled ideally making waste a thing of the past.
As part of the proposal a report has been drafted which explains how innovation in markets for recycled materials, eco-design and new business models can move Europe towards a zero-waste economy and society.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "We are living with linear economic systems inherited from the 19th Century in the 21st Century world of emerging economies, millions of new middle class consumers, and inter-connected markets. 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. 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."
European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "Research and innovation are the keys to success for the Circular Economy, which is why we are proposing a joined-up approach today. Alongside a supportive regulatory framework, our new Horizon 2020 programme will contribute the know-how necessary to shape a resource-efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy in the EU."
The report outlines how new growth and job opportunities will emerge from a more efficient use of resources and is accompanied by further policy documents which provide a framework to help the circular economy become a reality.
The legislative proposals will now pass to the Council and the European Parliament.
Progress on achieving the resource productivity target will be monitored in the European Semester of economic governance and will be considered in the context of the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 Strategy.