The study entitled Climate protection potentials of EU recycling targets shows that if EU countries with a recycling rate under 50% recycled 50% of municipal waste by 2020 they could save emissions equivalent to more than 89 million tonnes of CO2 per year. This is the equivalent of taking 31 million cars off the road.
The Brussels-based European Environmental Bureau Federation wrote the report and built upon the methodology used in WRAPs 2006 report Environmental benefits of recycling. This report found that recycling offered more environmental benefits and lower environmental impacts than other waste management options.
European Environmental Bureau Federation waste policy officer Nathalie Cliquot told MRW: The report shows that waste legislation can contribute to fighting climate change if we go along waste prevention and recycling lines then this should lead to significant CO2 reductions.
It sets the right framework for EU policy makers to promote the prevention of waste and recycling.
The key findings of the report shows that if waste volumes were stabilised at 2006 levels, a total of 1.1 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalents would be saved by 2020.
Cliquot explained: There are two main conclusions. First the prevention of waste is a reality and we need to fight growing levels of waste across Europe and agree on increasing recycling levels in the future. Secondly, the link between climate change and recycling is no longer to be ignored. If the target of 50% of municipal waste is reached by 2020 by EU countries then this will lead to significant CO2 savings per year- the average recycling rate across Europe at the moment is 37%.
In terms of potential this is a huge option for Europe which should not be overlooked.
Friends of the Earth senior waste campaigner Michael Warhurst added: Recycling our waste helps to tackle climate change, and targets are the best way to make sure recycling really happens across Europe. This study shows the massive potential benefits of targets for municipal waste. Friends of the Earths analysis shows that it is crucial that targets for business waste are also agreed. The UK Government must support and implement these targets if it is to follow through on its vision of a low-carbon economy.
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