The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has called on the EU to include more focus on product life cycle.
In its report Towards a Resource Efficient Europe, the association outlined an action plan with four key priorities.
These include the need to improve product design, by requiring products in key sectors of the economy to be made more durable, repairable, re-usable, and recyclable, based on the principle of producer responsibility.
The ESA also wants full implementation of all EU waste legislation, especially the Waste Framework Directive and the waste hierarchy, as well as better enforcement of all EU waste legislation to protect the environment and health.
The report also highlights the need to ensure fair competition between the private and public sectors in EU rules on public procurement.
ESA immediate past chairman, Ian Goodfellow, said: “The waste and resource management industry makes an important contribution to resource efficiency, green growth, and to employment, which is not always fully recognised.
“We would like to see more work being done on improving product design, so that those harder to recycle, and mechanically separate, composite products and materials do not end up in landfill.
“While this will be challenging, it can also create market opportunities for companies that are enterprising enough to design their products to take account of what will happen to them after they have been used and discarded.”
He added that the actions in the report were urgently needed if the waste and resource management industry was to play its full part in helping the European economy recover from recession.