MEPs urged to back circular economy report

Three industry federations have urged Members of European Parliament (MEPs) to support an ‘ambitious, effective and evidence-based’ report on the future of Europe’s circular economy.

MEPs urged to back circular economy report

In an open letter sent to MEPs today (3 July), the three federations – the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), a federation of European environmental organisations; De Groene Zaak, a Dutch sustainable business association; and the Aldersgate Group, a British coalition of environment agencies, non-governmental organisations and businesses – urged MEPs to support to the recommendations laid out in Sirpa Pietikainen’s draft report, ‘Resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy’, which will go to an MEP plenary vote on Wednesday (8 July) in Strasbourg.

The draft report, voted through by the European Parliament Environment Committee (ENVI) last month, sets out ‘an economically- and environmentally-positive vision for Europe’.

Included in the report are recommendations for a number of actions to be included in the European Commission’s (EC) revised Circular Economy Package, which is currently under consultation.

Among them is the increasing of recycling targets to ‘at least’ 70 per cent of municipal solid waste, using the same harmonised method for all member states with ‘externally verified statistics’, and a ban on landfilling recyclable and biodegradable waste by 2025, with incineration strictly limited to non-recyclable and non-biodegradable waste by 2020.

The report also suggests market incentives for the uptake of reused or recycled materials and extended producer responsibility requirements at a European level.

An opportunity ‘that must not be missed’

Pointing to research conducted by the EC, the industry letter states that a move to a more resource efficient economy could create up two million additional jobs in the EU and €600 billion (£426 billion) in net savings for EU citizens and businesses, while bringing about an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of up to four per cent.

The letter reads: ‘We, organisations representing progressive business and environmental NGOs, call on you to support the report by voting positively [next week] and help create the conditions for a new ambitious, effective and evidence based circular economy package.

‘Moving to a more resource efficient economy is a major opportunity for the EU that must not be missed. Producers and the business community have a tremendous role to play, with an increasing number of companies recognising the business case for improved resource efficiency as a way of giving their businesses and the EU as a whole a unique competitive advantage.

‘It is high time to create the conditions necessary to make our economy more resource efficient and competitive. This would result in a net increase in employment levels, a reduction of our dependency on imports of materials, and prevent the future costs that a resource inefficient approach would entail in terms of damage to the environment, human health and the economy.’

Piotr Barczak, Policy Officer for Waste at the EBB, has previously welcomed the approach that the European Parliament is taking to the issue of circular economy measures.

Following ENVI’s adoption of the report in June, he said: “The European Parliament has been brave, put its neck out and ambition is the battle cry.

“Companies, NGOs and citizens can all see the value of adopting a new economic model which makes more careful use of our resources and limits waste. The value that is locked up in a more resource-efficient way of life is of the tune of €600 billion, while over two million jobs could be created.

“These massive benefits lie in the circular economy and it’s time the Commission took them seriously.”

Read the ‘Resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy’ report.

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