Zero Waste goes to the European Parliament in Brussels!
by Joan Marc Simon
It was about time to bring the Zero Waste ideas to the European institutions. With the help of the Green group in the European Parliament and with the support of the other parliamentary groups and the European Commission this conference will demonstrate to policy-makers that the Zero Waste is already an ongoing evolution.
The event will count with the active participation of the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potocnik, many relevant members of the European Parliament but also the actor and producer Jeremy Irons and the director of the movie Trashed Candida Brady.
Good practices that will be presented include the case of the first European municipality to declare Zero Waste, Capannori in Italy, and the experience of the province of Gipuzkoa in the Spanish Basque Country. Also, local experiences such as the Zero Waste office in Brussels, the Zero Waste shop of Effecorta in Italy, the Zero Waste Fashion of Reet Aus from Estonia, the experience of the Zero Waste family in the UK or the funniest Reuse and leisure park in Europe Kretslopp park from Sweden. Also on better design, the Cradle to Cradle Foundation will present its work in designing better products and materials that can either biodegrade or be endlessly recycled.
OBJECTIVES OF THE CONFERENCE
NO time to WASTE
– European topsoils suffer increasing erosion when most organic waste is still landfilled or incinerated,
– 90 million tons of food is wasted annually in Europe when 80 million of Europeans live under the poverty line,
– European unemployment continues to grow when 400,000 jobs could be created only with implementation of current waste legislation,
– Europe is increasingly dependent on land and raw materials from abroad when most electric and electronic waste is not recycled,
– Still 60% of EU’s waste is landfilled or incinerated…
The European Resource Efficiency Roadmap puts Europe on the road to Zero Waste to incineration and landfill; aiming at phasing out landfill and incineration of recyclable waste by 2020.
Yet, still today market incentives reward disposal, recovery and waste export before recycling and prevention, investments go to oversized disposal infrastructures when upper levels of the hierarchy such as prevention or reuse are underfunded.
HOW to pave the road to Zero Waste
Creating a low-carbon, resource efficient economy whilst respecting biodiversity and increasing the social cohesion is one of the main challenges of the EU of today. The Zero Waste strategy is an essential part of this enterprise for it can provide jobs, bring nutrients back to the soils, help close the material loop and reduce European dependency on imports, reduce the environmental impact associated to waste disposal, drive innovation in product design and last but not least involve the citizens in designing a better Europe.
On one hand Zero Waste requires community responsibility to reduce, separate, collect and treat the waste. On the other hand it also requires industrial responsibility to design and produce better, more durable, recyclable, energy efficient products. Policy-making at EU level is crucial in influencing both and this is why this conference has been organised.
The aim of the Zero Waste conference: Beyond Recycling: Best practices on Resource and Waste management is to bring in front of decision-makers practical examples of how it is possible to transition from a wasteful society to a resource efficient economy in only a few years. Proving that it is possible to achieve high recycling rates and reduce waste generation provided the political will and the right policies are in place.
If you are not for Zero Waste… how much waste are you for?
Good practices that will be presented include the case of the first European municipality to declare Zero Waste,