28 May

Ten steps to bring Europe towards a circular solution

ZeroDownSlopeGrey100x80Zero Waste Alliance Ireland warmly joins with a long list of leading non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in calling for the European Union (EU) to implement ten steps that will help Europe work towards a circular economy.

icon-rewards-turnkeyA joint statement called ‘Bring waste full circle: How to implement the circular economy’ , was recently released. It was co- signed by the European Environmental Bureau, Seats at Risk, Zero Waste Europe, Rreuse, Greenpeace, Ecos, the Surfrider Foundation Europe and Friends of the Earth Europe.

In the the statement we’re

  • calling for 70% recycling target for municipal waste across Europe
  • seeking binding waste prevention targets ,that are competently policed, for food waste.  We seek a ban on landfilling and incineration by 2020 for all recyclable and compostable waste, and
  • promoting producer responsibility and resource taxation schemes.

We’re doing so in tandem with the ongoing revision of the Landfill, Packaging Waste and Waste Framework Directives .
The timely review of waste policy  now provides us with a great opportunity to set Europe on a clear path towards resource efficiency.

It is simply no longer tenable to burn and bury our (wasted) materials, many of which need to be imported and transported great distances for our consumption.

Our approach must be to attack the root cause of waste  – to not create it in the first place.  So a big emphasis is needed in the review of waste policy to target the areas where waste arises. We must put serious efforts into stringent prevention schemes, encourage reuse  and set some challenging recycling targets that show the level of our ambition.

TEN TO ZERO.

Along with our partner NGOs throughout the EU are calling for the following ten steps to be implemented as a matter of urgency.

  1. GO FOR ZERO. Set a zero residual waste target  by 2025
  2. REDUCE MATERIAL CONSUMPTION. Set binding EU material reduction targets. (These are based on the Total Material Consumption indicator for each product consumed)
  3. SET PREVENTION TARGETS. Introduce binding waste prevention targets for municipal, commercial and industrial waste. (Separate EU &  national target levels)
  4. MEASURE RE-USE LEVELS. Establish reuse targets for municipal solid waste (MSW) and packaging. Set targets for textiles and furniture re-use based on the weight of material per capita put back on the market.
  5. RAISE THE RECYCLING BAR. Increase recycling targets to at least 70% of municipal solid waste (MSW), using a single harmonised methodology for all Member States to report on, based on the recycling output. Set an overall packaging recycling target at 80% and boost plastic packaging recycling to at least 75%
  6. CUT MARINE LITTER. Set a marine litter reduction target of 50% with an explicit definition of litter included in the waste legislation.
  7. SEPARATE WASTE STREAMS AT SOURCE. Introduce separate collection of waste streams by 2020. Segregate biowaste from homes & hospitality sector. Mandate separate collection for recycling materials such as glass, paper, cardboard, metals and textiles
  8. FISCAL CARROTS. Provide economic incentives that implement  the waste hierarchy, such as extended producer responsibility, pay-as-you-throw schemes and the taxation of virgin resources where appropriate
  9. RE-THINK. Eliminate through better design all single-use, non-recyclable products and toxic materials such as microplastics and oxo-fragementable plastics
  10. BURY AND BURN BAN. Ban landfill and incineration by 2020 for all recyclable and compostable waste. Omit financing of incinerators and landfills from structural and cohesion funds.