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China and the EU to share best practices on recycling

Recycling industries in the European Union and China will work more closely together to share best practices, according to officials attending the 5th China-EU Round table meeting on 18-19 May.

Officials agreed that EU-China cooperation should be enhanced to strengthen exchanges of technical expertise and good practices on waste disposal and recycling.

The meeting was held in the harbour of eco-city of Tianjin, China.

About 130 million tonnes of waste were produced in China in 2008. That number is growing at a rate of seven to nine per cent each year, said NanKai University environment and social development director Zhu Tan.

Speaking about the meeting European Economic and Social Committee member Sukhdev Sharma told MRW: We are increasingly conscious in the EU that landfilling materials is no longer sustainable. We are looking at technologies in the EU that can recycle and recover as much as possible and there is evidence in China that they are keen to develop their recycling industries.

The EU has a lot of hazardous waste that is exported to developing countries or indirectly to China. Some of this waste ends up in unlicensed, unhealthy back street workshops to be dismantled. We increasingly recognise that we have joint responsibility to deal with this waste effectively and to recycle or re-use it.

Sharma added that the round table encouraged relevant co-partners from China and the EU to establish demonstrator technologies in the field of waste management and recycling. He said technologies from the EU such as anaerobic digestion, mechanical biological treatment and in-vessel composting can be transferred to cities such as Tianjin.

Other key recommendations discussed:
* Integrated cross-sector solutions to the problems posed by hazardous waste and electronic waste;
* More cooperation initiatives to promote recycling industries;
* More cooperation on the development of technology transfer;
* More efforts to be me made for effective implementation of relevant regulations;
* More involvement from civil society organisations in waste management policies;
* And encouragement for a joint platform for scientific and technical cooperation between researchers of both regions.

Sharma explained that the last 10 years has brought a recycling revolution in the UK where it is ingrained in the public psyche and councils have taken measures to increase recycling. But he said in China that psyche does not exist.

The EESC is a think-thank and it aims to make recommendations for the European Commission and Chinese Government to take on board when making their proposals.


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