Janez Potocnik: Predictability and clarity for investors and businesses

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Janez Potocnik (Foto: © European Union, 2014)

Brussels — Yesterday, the EU Commission adopted new waste targets and proposals to turn Europe into a more circular economy. At the press conference, Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik spoke about circular economy and zero waste policy and the new „aspirational target to give us a clear direction for progress in achieving resource productivity and to provide predictability and clarity for investors and businesses“. And the commissioner spoke about the status quo of the European waste management too.

„Today about 42 per cent of our waste is recycled and we have a target to get to 50 per cent by 2020. Today we propose to go for a minimum of 70 per cent recycling by 2030. We introduce a ban on landfilling of recyclables (such as paper, glass, metal and plastic) and biodegradable waste by 2025, and aim at elimination of all landfilling of recoverable waste by 2030.

„And we propose to measure our resource productivity against a target of raw material consumption to GDP. Here we follow the advice of our European Resource Efficiency Platform which stated that an improvement of at least 30 per cent by 2030 would be realistic and bring important improvements in competitiveness.

„It is important to realise that there a lot of jobs in that dark green arrow. Our estimates show that successful implementation of the existing waste legislation would lead to 400,000 direct jobs, and the review we have put on the table today would create a further 180,000. But the job potential to the wider economy of improved material flows and improved resilience is far greater. A reduction in the total material requirement of our industry would lead up to 3 per cent boost in GDP and 2 million additional jobs.

„We keep the familiar waste hierarchy intact. And here is what it should look like by 2030:

  •  70 per cent Municipal Waste Recycling target (by 2030);
  • 80 per cent Packaging waste recycling target (by 2030) with interim targets for individual recyclables;
  • Ban on landfilling of recyclable waste (paper, glass, metal and plastic) and biodegradable waste (by 2025);
  • Phase out landfilling of all recoverable waste (by 2030) – not legally binding
  • 30 per cent reduction of food waste objective (by 2025) – not legally binding
  • Also 30 per cent reduction in marine litter objective (by 2020) – not legally binding

„This looks ambitious, but we know from the performance of the Member States that have already got to nearly 70 per cent recycling rates that it is feasible even for the Member States that are landfilling more than 80 per cent of their waste today to get to these targets if they use the right instruments. Particularly separate collection, landfill charges and extended producer responsibility.

And this is what people want.“

The full statement can be found under europa.eu.

Source: EU commission