Circular Economy: Reducing waste in Europe

We are producing too much waste. This is why the EU Commission wants clear targets for waste reduction and better waste management and recycling.

How did we get here?

This proposal on waste reduction is one of the first laws to be introduced by the Juncker Commission. They really made an effort in trying to come up with less legislation. For the years to come the Commission also proposed a plan with more comprehensive actions on waste reduction and targets to cover the full economic cycle. Here is the Commission's waste proposal and the action plan for 'closing the loop'.

The action plan is featuring very exciting things that the Commission is looking into as well (for now it is only waste), such as: Water reuse, evil fertilizers, promotion of reparability and recyclability of new products and much more fun stuff which will be unfolding in 2016.


Why is this important for me?

Since we are using more and more resources it will become even more crucial to avoid or at least recycle waste and truly create a functioning circular economy. Of course the EU Commission is also telling us it will boost economic growth, enhance competitiveness and all the wonderful pep talk. But jokes aside: Using resources in a more sustainable way is in everyone's long-term interest, right?


What's the content?

The updated law (yes, there was an earlier attempt to regulated this which failed) about waste sets very clear targets on waste reduction and is also pushing for a better waste management (apparently some member states are having major trouble with their recycling quota...), e.g. through harmonised calculation methods for recycling rates across Europe.

The numbers as agreed by the European Parliament:

In addition to these hard numbers the Commission also wants to give goodies to those producers that put greener products on the market in the first place.


What's happening with this legislation in the future?

In the European Parliament the Environment Committee is responsible for the proposal and the rapporteur Simona Bonafè (IT, S&D) presented her report in May 2016. In March 2017 the Parliament adopted its final opinion which represents its position, ahead of negotiations with the Council, which yet has to adopt its own position.


Related Bills:

Less Plastic Bags for Europe

Better energy labels on electronic products

A New Waste Management System in the EU


Pic: "Reduce Reuse Recycle" by Steve Snodgrass, March 22, 2011, licensed under CC BY 2.0

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