EU aims for zero-waste economy with higher recycling targets

EU Zero-Waste EconomyThe EU has proposed higher recycling targets in a bid to transform Europe’s economy into one where nothing is wasted, supporting sustainable growth and a zero-waste economy.

Under the new targets, European countries will:

  • Ban the burying of recyclable waste in landfill after 2025
  • Recycle 70% of municipal waste (everyday rubbish) and 80% of packaging by 2030
  • Reduce marine litter and food waste.

Anticipated benefits include

  • An economy with a lower environmental impact and reduced CO2 emissions
  • Less demand for costly, scarce resources
  • 580 000 new jobs in waste management.

The EU is working towards a “circular economy” in Europe, in which reusing, repairing and recycling materials is the norm – instead of extracting raw materials, using them once and discarding them.

  • In 2010, some 400 – 500 million tonnes of waste that could have been reused or recycled were instead landfilled or burned in Europe.
  • Making the most of our resources could boost EU competitiveness on the global stage and reduce our reliance on increasingly scarce – and expensive – raw materials.

The EU says the move towards a circular economy can be driven by

  • Designing products that are easier to repair, upgrade and recycle
  • Creating better performing products that last longer, and more efficient production processes
  • Reducing the use of materials that are hazardous or difficult to recycle
  • Providing incentives to reduce waste
  • Turning waste into a resource through technical advances.

Look at it from a resource management and financial bottom line perspective>

  • For businesses, costs will fall by an estimated 8% of annual turnover.

SourceEuropean Commission Environment, Consumers & Health