European Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik has said that the relationship between the waste management sector and the circular economy will be his central theme for 2014.
In a speech in Germany, the Commissioner praised the progress made so far, but said much more needed to be done to make the waste sector more resource efficient.
He said: “Much has been achieved through the use of economic incentives such as pay-as-you-throw schemes, or landfill and incineration taxes including partial bans like in Germany, as well as extended producer responsibility. All these measures have helped create jobs and encourage innovation. They have helped change behaviour and create opportunities for producers, retailers, consumers, local authorities, public and private waste management operators.
“Next year I will present a review of the Commission’s waste policies and targets. My broad objective is to open up more opportunities in the sector and make the transition to a systemic sustainable circular economy happen.
“The relationship of good waste management to the circular economy will be my central theme for next year. Because waste is just one stage in the lifecycle of our products, I will be including in my waste proposals a much wider package on resource efficiency and the circular economy.
“This will draw inspiration from the recommendations made by the European Commission, by Member States, by Federal Regions, by industry, and by financial bodies. And it will address all stages in the cycles of our products, from design to manufacture, and on to use and disposal.”