The recycled materials industry is the fastest growing of Europe’s “eco-industries”, the EU Environment Commissioner has said, claiming one reason was that European standards led the world.
Janez Potočnik said the growth in recycled materials since the 2008 financial crisis was 18% per year, while that of renewable energy was 13% per year.
The commissioner also indicated he would present revised targets for recycling and cutting landfill “in a few weeks”.
In a speech at the Industrial GreenTec Fair in Hanover, Germany, he said EU eco-industries in the EU had grown between 6-8% per year since 2008 providing more than three million direct jobs.
“Why is this? It is because our industries and services have applied their creativity and their innovation to helping us achieve the objectives that are set out in European legislation to protect our environment and health.
“It is no accident that the biggest eco-industry sectors are in waste management at 30%, water supply 21%, wastewater management 13%, and recycled materials also 13%. These just happen to be the areas where Europe leads the world in environmental standards.
“And the fastest growing areas are in areas where we have developed legislation more recently, such as renewable energy, growing at 13% per year, and recycled materials, growing at 18%.
Earlier, in another speech, Potočnik said that over the last four years the European Commission had put resource efficiency at the heart of the European structural economic strategy.
“That is why, in a few weeks, I will present revised targets for recycling waste and for reducing landfill. And this will central to a more comprehensive approach to moving to a circular economy, particularly in the sectors of buildings and food.
“Much of the work to achieve this will have to be done by Member States and the private sector; but the European Commission is also working to shape the framework conditions to accelerate the transition to circular economy. “