European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik has said that recycled materials is the fastest growing of eco industries across Europe.
In a speech at the Industrial GreenTec Fair in Hanover, Germany, he revealed that eco industries are worth 2 to 3 per cent of European GDP and have grown by 6-8 per cent during the crisis period. The fastest growing of these was recycled materials.
He said: “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 per cent, water supply – 21 per cent, wastewater management – 13 per cent and recycled materials – also 13 per cent. 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 cent per year and recycled materials – growing at 18 per cent.”
He added that European businesses should seek to build on their advanced position in the cleaner conventional renewable energy, energy efficiency, water treatment equipment, solid waste treatment operations, mechanical and biological pre-treatment of waste, waste tyre recovery, air quality and emissions monitoring equipment and environmental consulting services.
The commissioner also said that there remains a number of inefficiencies that Europe must look at. This includes 80 per cent of what we produce is used once and discarded, 80 per cent of resources are used by 20 per cent of the world’s population and just 1 per cent of valuable rare earths that we use in products are recycled at the end of the product’s life.