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Brussels presses case for Europe-wide landfill ban

EC environment commissioner Janez Potočnik has outlined his support for a Europe-wide ban on landfill and called for a “societal change” across member nations.

Speaking at an event organised by the Science|Business Innovation Board, Potočnik said there were five to six EU countries that were already “practically” sending no waste to landfill already, but that some other countries were sending up to 90% of their waste.

He argued that with the right innovation, financial incentives and international co-operation a full landfill ban could be achieved.

He added: “It is possible to create a predictable environment where everyone knows what to do.

“We have to think of the cost of inaction, not action.”

In May MEPs voted overwhelmingly in favour to draw up proposals to be drawn up by the end of 2014 that would lead to a gradual phasing out of landfill.

Mr Potočnik also reiterated calls for greater “resource efficiency”, which includes reusing more material and making materials more recyclable.

He said: “Producing recyclable, reusable products makes sense for the environment.”

Readers' comments (3)

  • Where is the rest of this story? Have I missed the reference to incineration? Janez Potocnik stated in a recent speech to a major plastics industry summit that energy recovery [via incineration] is a barrier to the availability of plastics for recycling and that we should be focussing on recycling plastics rather than using them for energy recovery [incineration]. I quote: "…There are two major objectives we need to pursue. Obviously, landfill rates must go down as quickly as possible, but it is also important to switch from energy recovery to increased recycling. Plastic recycling rates are far too low across Europe with an average of just 24 per cent. Today, even in countries with high recovery rates, there is simply not enough plastic available for recycling because most of it goes to energy recovery. A dominance of energy recovery over recycling is not acceptable in the medium-term…"

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  • I agree with the previous post. We cannot consider incineration or combustion of any kind as a realistic or sustainable solution to landfill.

    Take out organic waste and recyclables and landfill is more environmentally friendly than incineration.

    We should be aiming to ban incineration not landfill!

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  • While we are waiting for incineration to be banned, we can anticipate an incineration tax. See: and the article by Eunomia's Director at:

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