Huge CO2 savings could be made across Europe if countries stopped landfilling waste with a high calorific value, such as plastic.
A study by German research institute Prognos AG found that 234 mega tonnes of CO2 could be saved if smarter waste management was implemented across the EU by 2020. This amount is equivalent to 27% of the EUs 2020 emissions targets, the report said.
The UK has the greatest potential to reduce emissions out of the EU members and it could realise up to a fifth of potential cuts, the report found.
The association of plastics manufacturers Plastics Europe regional director Jan-Erik Johansson said: Plastics waste is a valuable and energy-rich resource that needs to be recycled or recovered at the end of its useful life. While the UK is rapidly improving recycling, the proportion going to energy recovery is lagging behind the rest of Europe and represents a huge opportunity.
Policy makers in London and Brussels need to unleash the potential of such smart waste management and do it fast.
The report was released as MEPs voted on recycling targets and incineration classification in the European Parliament (MRW, June 16)
But Plastics Europe Johansson told MRW that the release of the report near the second reading of the European Waste Framework Directive was a coincidence.
We havent sent the report to the European Parliament, or the Council. But it has gone out selectively to those who are interested.
The 50% and 70% targets for recycling have been central to the EU debate, so we dont think our report would have made a difference to the vote, he said.
To download the report visit: www.prognos.com