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Mar 18, 2013

Potocnik: “Zero Waste is the right aspiration”

More than two hundred people including members of the European Parliament, mayors and local decision-makers, European Commission, the European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potocnik and the famous actor Jeremy Irons participated in the first Zero Waste Europe conference in the European Parliament on March 7.

“Zero waste might be an ambitious goal in our highly industrialised societies; but it is the right aspiration” said commissioner Potocnik talking a packed room. Reaffirming the commitment of the Commission to phase out landfilling and burning of recyclable waste by 2020. “No new landfills should be built in Europe (…) incineration is not optimal in the mid term” continued the Commissioner who warned that member states should be careful with building incineration overcapacity.

“In order to meet the objectives of the Resource Efficiency Roadmap the EU will have to reduce disposal and increase recycling at 5% annual rate until 2020. This is a major leap forward that cannot be achieved with the current legal framework.” said Joan Marc Simon, executive director of Zero Waste Europe. “Eurostat shows how recycling is stagnating in Europe and incineration is going up; we need to change the drivers if we don’t want the EU to waste one more decade”.

Jumping  from recycling rates of 20% to 80% in a short period of time is perfectly  possible when there is the political will and the implication of the citizens. This is what the experience from Capannori, first Zero Waste town in Europe, and the province of Gipuzkoa proved with concrete practical zero waste experiences.