The European Commission has recently adopted a new package of circular economy measures to promote more sustainable and rational use of resources in the area of production and consumption, in particular through greater use of recycling and reuse. of products and waste. In this way, the maximum value and maximum use from raw materials will be achieved, saving energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, boosting the economy and increasing employment.
The circular economy aims to reduce waste and protect the environment, but it also presupposes a profound transformation of the way our entire economy works. We need to rethink our way of producing, working, buying and consuming. The Commission’s measures are framed in a system vision that considers the current situation of exploitation of the resources of our planet unsustainable and evaluates our economy without perspective if we continue to follow the “produce, throw away” model. Resources are precious and must be conserved, making the most of their potential economic value when they are included in the production flow. Basically, if we manage to use resources more efficiently, to be less dependent on raw materials, now scarce, and to reshape the market economy, the benefits will fall on everyone and the entire socio-environmental system, also improving our competitiveness. Here are a few summary of the measures taken:
- actions to reduce food waste, including a common measurement methodology, a better indication of the consumption date, and tools to achieve the goal of global sustainable development to reduce food waste by half by 2030;
- the development of quality standards for secondary raw materials (recovery of processing waste from raw materials or from waste recycling) in order to increase the confidence of operators in the market;
- measures to promote the repairability, longevity and recyclability of products, as well as energy efficiency;
- the revision of the fertilizer regulation, to facilitate the recognition of organic fertilizers and those obtained from waste and support the role of bionutrients;
- a strategy for plastics that addresses issues related to recyclability, biodegradability, elimination of dangerous substances;
- the significant reduction of marine litter;
- water reuse actions and minimum requirements for the reuse of waste water;
- the revision of waste legislation, with an objective, at EU level by 2030, to recycle 65% of municipal waste and 75% of packaging waste, to reduce landfilling to a maximum of 10% for all waste;
- the prohibition on placing landfilled waste in landfills;
- simpler and more appropriate definitions as well as harmonized methods for calculating recycling rates across the EU;
- concrete measures to promote reuse and stimulate industrial symbiosis by transforming the waste products of one industry into raw materials destined for another;
- economic incentives for manufacturers to bring greener products to the market and support for recovery and recycling systems (e.g. for packaging, batteries, electrical and electronic equipment).
These proposed measures by the European Commission are now being examined by individual countries and an important change in the mentality and behavior of both public administrations, businesses and citizens can be expected in the near future. Now it is everyone’s job to concretely support this innovative process so that it turns into concrete and lasting results.