About: Waste and recycling

EU’s proposed tax on burning plastic waste is counter-productive

The CO2 emissions reductions achieved by plastic recycling is very costly when compared to alternatives like wind energy and solar PV, while much energy can be extracted from burning plastic waste, argue Raymond Gradus and Henriëtte Prast.
Circular economy 25-04-2018

Time for an eco-design revolution on carpets and mattresses

A lot more must be done to incentivise everyday product recyclability, writes Ward Mosmuller. Bulky products that are not recycled today – like carpets, mattresses and furniture – would be a good place to start, he argues.
Energy 09-04-2018

Renewables law could lock EU into costly burning technologies

The EU Council’s position on the recast Renewable Energy Directive (REDII), if adopted, could lock EU member states into expensive and polluting waste-to-energy technologies that contradict the circular economy and climate objectives, writes Janek Vahk.
Circular economy 06-02-2018

Circular economy? Not without the internal market!

Without oversight, the implementation of the circular economy package entails a huge risk of Member States going into different directions and introducing barriers to the internal market, warns Virginia Janssens.
Circular economy 11-01-2018

Why the EU’s renewable energy proposal subverts the circular economy

To date, the Renewable Energy Directive has been a key obstacle to achieving waste policy objectives. If the EU is serious about the transition towards a circular economy, it is crucial that incentive schemes for renewables encourage separate collection and recycling, writes Janek Vahk.
Circular economy 21-11-2017

Microplastics, macro problems

Tackling the visible impact of plastic pollution is one thing. But if we’re serious about finding a long-term solution, revealing the invisible impact is imperative, writes the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jocelyn Blériot, calling for a ban on oxo-degradable plastics that are still widely used in carrier bags.
Circular economy 02-11-2017

China is no longer the EU’s plastic dumping ground: What’s next?

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? With EU production of plastic waste showing no sign of slowing down and China – the world’s biggest importer of plastic waste – set to ban imports, we’re about to find out, argues Meadhbh Bolger.    

Matching realism and ambition in aluminium recycling

Ambitious yet realistic targets for all packaging materials are essential to building a truly circular economy in Europe, writes Maarten Labberton.

Energy 17-02-2017

A Canadian circular economy reality

Edmonton has become the first city which turns all non-compostable and non-recyclable household waste into methanol, ethanol and green chemicals. Europe should take notice, writes Lambert van Nistelrooij.

In the rush to get waste out of landfill, the EU risks losing sight of its recycling targets

Since 2010, billions of euros have been committed for energy from waste (EfW) infrastructure in Northern Europe. This would be sensible if recycling levels remained unchanged, writes Adam Baddeley.

Why recycling must be on the agenda of COP22

Those serious about tackling climate change should start recognising the huge untapped potential of recycling as a green partner, writes Ranjit Baxi.
Raymond Gradus

EU recycling targets are unworkable: The evidence speaks for itself

Contrary to what the environmental lobby argues, the EU’s proposed recycling target is unattainable and socially sub-optimal, write Raymond Gradus and Elbert Dijkgraaf.
Jeremy Wates

EU recycling targets workable and worth it

There is nothing wise about scrapping a proposal to increase the EU’s recycling targets and delaying the development of a circular economy, writes Jeremy Wates.

Timmermans’ wise decision to bin EU recycling target

The EU’s goal to collect and recycle 70% of household waste is unattainable and should be scrapped, write Elbert Dijkgraaf and Raymond Gradus.
Fresh vegetables at a market. [Shutterstock/Sunlover].

The sustainable sourcing of materials is crucial to the circular economy

SPECIAL REPORT / The sustainable sourcing of raw materials is a crucial phase at the beginning of the economic cycle. Yet this initial sourcing phase has so far been largely neglected by targeted EU resource efficiency policies. “But it’s time for change,”, said WWF, Unilever and the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE).

Circular economy calls on the EU to think globally, act locally

Poto?nik’s main legacy as European environment commissioner was to put resource efficiency and the circular economy on the EU agenda. But the EU is a big ship and turning it around is slow: whoever is next at the helm would be wise to anchor the circular economy in local action and proximity, writes Jori Ringman-Beck.

Plastic waste: A valuable resource

The upcoming review of EU waste legislation offers the chance to revolutionise the way we think about and deal with plastics waste in Europe, argues Carl Van Camp.

Ship recycling: EU needs to take responsibility for hidden costs

Shipbreaking on the beaches of South Asia results in disastrous pollution, labour rights abuses, severe injuries and fatalities among workers. Still, the vast majority of European shipping companies continue to avoid the costs of proper disposal by selling their ships to these breaking yards, writes Patrizia Heidegger.
Climate change 28-11-2007

Recycling: mining the waste resource

Our present rate of waste production is unsustainable and thus we urgently need effective waste management aimed at mining this resource, argues Pater Calliafas in a recent analysis on Environmental Research Web.