Green MEPs have slammed the watering down of targets on reducing waste and energy presented this week by the European Commission [1]. MEPs in the European Parliament agreed proposals in a report on the ‘circular economy’ in July this year, which included calls for 30% greater resource efficiency and 30% less food waste by 2030 as well as 50 % less marine litter by 2025. However, the Commission proposals contain no such targets and include a push for energy from waste, or incineration, something opposed by the Greens. Commenting on the Commission’s proposals.

Economist and Green Party finance speaker, Molly Scott Cato MEP, said:

“This is an incredibly weak package and represents a hugely missed opportunity to move Europe towards a more sustainable economy. Ambitious proposals on creating a circular economy would stimulate innovation in resource efficiency. The Commission itself acknowledged that better eco-design, waste prevention and reuse could result in major cost savings and the environmental benefits of reducing the extraction of raw materials and energy used in the production process are clear.”

Jean Lambert, London MEP, said the circular economy could provide a huge boost for jobs:

“Governments and businesses need to wake up to the opportunities from doing things a different way, in London and further afield. There is huge potential for 1000s of new green jobs if we embrace modern efficiency models- and everyone wins. Transforming all our European economies is urgent business and in future Greens want see far more ambitious EU targets. We will continue to push for that in the European Parliament. I am determined that London must become cleaner, greener and have a workforce fit to face the future,”

Greens argue that full commitment to a circular economy, in which products are made to last longer and reused, repaired or recycled at the end of their lives, would provide a €1.8 trillion boost to the European economy, the same size as the entire economy of Italy. The Greens are demanding five key changes to the circular economy package as presented by the Commission, including a much greater focus on green job creation and stronger support for small scale, citizen-led or social enterprise initiatives [2].

Ends

Notes

[1] A comparison of the new Commission proposal with the original proposal of 2014 and the position voted by the EU Parliament in July 2015: http://www.greens-efa.eu/fileadmin/dam/Documents/Background_notes/2015-12-2_Circular_economy_01.pdf

[2] Further details and a video about the circular economy package together with the five demands by Greens: http://www.greens-efa.eu/the-circular-economy-package-14913.html

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