Reuse and recycling must take priority, EU member states told

Member states must give higher priority to reuse and recycling if Europe is to become fully resource-efficient and manage its waste as a resource by 2020, the European Commission (EC) has said.

Under the EC’s Roadmap to a resource efficient Europe, published yesterday (September 20), the Commission is looking to introduce economic incentives to stimulate the secondary materials market and demands for recycled materials, and develop end-of-waste criteria further.

It also committed to reviewing existing targets for waste prevention, reuse, recycling, recovery and landfill diversion by 2014 to move towards an economy based on reuse and recycling, with residual waste close to zero.

The EC will consider introducing minimum recycled material rates, durability and reusability criteria/extensions of producer responsibility for key products. It will also look to develop greater coherence on legislation governing the different waste streams.

The document states: “If waste is to become a resource to be fed back into the economy as a raw material, then much higher priority needs to be given to reuse and recycling. A combination of policies would help create a full recycling economy.”

Examples of this would be integrating a lifecycle approach into product design, better cooperation along the supply chain, improved collection processes, incentives for waste prevention and recycling, and an appropriate regulatory framework.

The EC is set to facilitate the exchange of best practice on waste collection and treatment among member states, and develop more effective measures to combat breaches in legislation.

Maxine Perella

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