EU: Re-use, repair & recycle

2014-07-03 10:46


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Brussels - The EU wants to ban the dumping of all recyclable rubbish in landfill sites as part of a social and economic revolution to re-use, repair and recycle.

"We propose to make Europe a society without waste", said environment commissioner Janez Potocnik as he unveiled a landmark plan for Green growth he called "one of the most important" put together by the European Commission.

Instead of using raw materials once and then throwing them away, the new EU vision is to move from a linear economy to a circular one. Where once it took a ton of ore to produce a gram of gold, 41 recycled cell-phones can produce the same quantity.

The plan wants to see Europeans recycle 70% of their municipal waste and 80% of packaging waste by 2030, while banning outright the burial of recyclable rubbish in landfills from 2025.

This would save 600 million tons of reusable materials that are thrown away each year, the commission claims.

It would also boost growth and help generate business, creating up to 600 000 jobs, most of which would be impossible to de-localise outside Europe, it said.

The emphasis would be on research and innovation to increase the lifespan of products, designing objects that are easy to repair, and encouraging consumers to rent rather than to buy.

Asked whether Brussels was confident manufacturers would choose durability at a time when the lifespan of electronic products was increasingly short, Potocnik said: "Either there will be Green growth or there will be no growth. The path we are following is not the right one for Europe or for the 21st century."

The half a billion people in the 28-member EU generated an average 492kg each of municipal waste in 2012, with Danes producing the most at 668kg per person while eastern nations such as Romania and Estonia produced less than 400kg per person.

The amount of waste recycled or composted in the last three decades has increased hugely, from 18%in 1995 to 42% in 2012.
Read more on:    eu  |  recycling  |  environment

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