Brussels — In his opening keynote speech at the Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference, Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans yesterday underlined that never before there has been such a strong global consensus on the need to change our economic model. „The Sustainable Development Goals we agreed at the United Nations are a comprehensive roadmap for our future. And frankly they are the only viable path for a world facing unprecedented resource and economic challenges.“
In December 2015 the Commission presented a Circular Economy Package which proposed an ambitious but still realistic set of measures along the whole product lifecycle. „Just over two years later, we have delivered almost all the initiatives planned, and in the coming year we will put the final pieces on the table. We’ll put them to the European Parliament and the Council“, Timmermans emphasized.
The waste legislation will make Europe’s waste management system the most advanced regional system in the world. The European Parliament and Council have come to a provisional agreement. So Timmerman appeal to the audiance to support and encourage this rapid conclusion. The sooner this legislation is adopted, the sooner the planning with certainty for the future can start. „This is what I get back a lot from industry: ‚Give us the certainty, so we can plan for the future.‘“
Following the EU Plastics Strategy, by 2030 all plastics packaging will have to be reusable or recyclable in an economically viable manner. This most probably means that some types of plastic can no longer be on the market because there is hardly an economic case for recycling all the plastics we have today. Secondly and very importantly, the markets for recycled plastics will have to grow and more products will have to be made of recycled material. Thirdly, we will address single use plastics, which constitute 50 percent of litter found on EU beaches.
Timmerman also cautioned to China: „Now that China has taken this decision, we need to be careful when we do all these things that we convince our citizens to be part of it, to do this extra work in selecting waste. And we would undermine the whole process if at the end of the day, after all the selection, everything ends up together in the furnace somewhere. So we really have some urgent work to do.“
So the Vice-President of the European Commission appealed: „We need everyone on board to turn these plans into realities. To turn intentions into results, and to scale up.“
The full speeech can be read under europa.eu.