The European Resource Efficiency Platform (EREP) group has set out policy recommendations for supporting resource efficiency and moving to a circular economy.
Its recommendations for business, labour and civil society leaders are:
- Set objectives, measure and report progress
- Improve information on environmental and resource impacts for decision making
- Phase out environmentally harmful subsidies
- Moving towards a circular economy and promoting high-quality recycling
- Improve resource efficiency in business–to-business relations
- Taking forward a coherent, resource efficient product policy framework
- Deliver a stronger and more coherent implementation of Green Public Procurement
- Develop instruments for SMEs
However, there were calls from both industry and environmental campaigners to make the proposals stronger.
Environmental Services Association (ESA) director of policy Matthew Farrow told MRW: “The EREP report identifies all the key issues and we strongly support its emphasis on creating a circular economy. However, we would have liked to see proposals for stronger action to increase demand for recyclate within the EU so that it becomes the norm not the exception for products to have recycled content.”
Friends of the Earth Europe (FOEE) also said the policies are inadequate. Director of FOEE Magda Stoczkiewicz said: “We find that the outcome doesn’t match the task. What we need is a strong push to ensure action is taken to improve Europe’s resource efficiency, driven by solid legislation, not more nice words.”
But it said it supports EREP’s call to maximise reuse and recycling, and to minimise residual waste being sent to incineration or landfill, although it said this will require bans and taxes on landfill and incineration.
European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik said that he was happy with the discussions and the outcome so far.
He told MRW: “NGOs and business are both represented. You would expect them to argue from their respective points of view. Policy makers’ job is to take on board all comments and try to steer a way forward.”
- A European Commission consultation on targets included in three waste and recycling directives, and on the setting of new ones, is currently underway.