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12/2/15

Europe goes green: Waste no more: EU’s Circular Economy package - by Dan Alexe

With what is going on in Europe and around, one would not think that garbage and waste are major priorities, in spite of the hype surrounding the Paris mega-conference on climate change.

A major political package, reinventing European economy.” The two major super-Commissioners, EU Commission’s First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Jyrki Katainen Vice-President of the EC in charge of Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness were not shy of being dithyrambic today in presenting the new EU Circular Economy package.

I came one year late, but it is more ambitious than the previous draft, assured Frans Timmermans. More realistic, he later corrected during a press conference, for some targets are lower in the new package. Thus, the waste and incineration laws in the new package, which call for 65 % recycling target for municipal waste and allow a 10 % landfill quota – a weakening of the 2014 targets which called for a 70 % municipal waste target and a complete ban on landfill waste.

“We need to go circular in the way in which we grow and consume”, said Frans Timmermans. “You can compare circular economy to globalisation”, added Jyrki Katainen.

According to the Commission, the proposed actions will contribute to “closing the loop” of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use, and bring benefits for both the environment and the economy. The plans will extract the maximum value and use from all raw materials, products and waste, fostering energy savings and reducing Green House Gas emissions. The proposals cover the full lifecycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials.

This transition will be supported financially by ESIF funding, €650 million from Horizon 2020 (the EU funding programme for research and innovation), €5.5 billion from structural funds for waste management, and investments in the circular economy at national level.

Read more: Waste no more: EU’s Circular Economy package

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