Circular Economy: Let's shift from disposal to recycling and re-using

green circle of reusable items

The European Union currently imports half of the resources it consumes, while throwing away annually around 600 million tonnes of waste that could be reused.
Socialists and Democrats defend a shift from the linear economy – where we extract, make, sell, use and throw away – to a circular economy in which waste from one industry becomes raw material for another.

Today the European Parliament voted on a strategic report asking the European Commission to be ambitious when it presents new legislative proposals later this year.

Massimo Paolucci, the S&D shadow rapporteur on circular economy, said:

"A circular economy is an urgent necessity and a great opportunity for Europe, since there is more and more competition for the scarce resources. This is why a circular economy will not only be fair to the environment and responsible for future generations, but also the smart option for our industries to be globally competitive. Europe needs a mentality shift: from consumerism to an approach where waste from one industry becomes a resource for another one.

"We blame the EPP for having repeatedly tried to water down the report. Unfortunately, they got a majority to reject a binding target on resource efficiency. Apart from this point, the European Parliament has approved an ambitious report thanks to the fundamental support of Socialists and Democrats.

"Over 100 million tonnes of food are wasted annually in the EU. This is a shame for Europe. We call for targets, measures and instruments to reduce food-waste to be proposed by the end of the year and a binding food-waste reduction target in each sector along the food chain of at least 30% by 2025."

S&D vice-president, Kathleen Van Brempt, said:

"So far the Commission only proposed a legislative proposal to review waste legislation and non-legislative proposals for the rest of the Circular Economy package. Today the Parliament told the Commission to be more ambitious and cover all the value chain, including product design, manufacturing, marketing and consumer behaviour.
"We want the eco-design and other product policy legislation to be reviewed in order to increase the lifetime of products as well as their repairability; reusability and recyclability."

Matthias Groote, S&D spokesperson on the environment, said:

"The Parliament requests binding targets for the reduction of municipal and industrial waste by 2025 as well as an obligatory gradual reduction of all landfilling. It is however necessary to keep the possibility for innovative treatment facilities to landfill non-recyclable end products of recycling processes.
"If measures are implemented that effectively increase resource efficiency by 30 % by 2030, up to two million jobs can be created and European enterprises could save up to 465 billion Euros in material costs. These measures create jobs, make EU companies more competitive and more innovative and they are good for the environment and climate – thus exactly what Europe needs!"