The Circular Economy is the buzzword of the moment in Brussels. But we need to make sure that our focus on “keeping the materials in the circle” does not distract us from our other objectives, argues Karl Foerster.
This weekend saw the beginning of the European Week for Waste Reduction, a move by EU regions to draw attention to the continent’s waste problem and some of the grassroots initiatives looking for a cure.
Recycling has become a central part of the EU's climate change strategy by helping the bloc to tackle the nearly three billion tonnes of waste produced by Europe annually, much of which enters the atmosphere in the form of CO2 and methane emissions from landfill sites and incineration plants.
The European Commission does not have enough resources to properly enforce the implementation of the EU's Landfill Directive and related infringement cases against member states have very little effect, regretted an official at the EU executive, suggesting that the establishment of an EU waste implementation agency would remedy the situation.
On 22 March, the European Environment Agency (EEA) issued a study on the status of biodegradable waste in Europe. It highlights the differences between the national strategies drawn up, the methods currently used and the alternatives to landfill available.