If European businesses want to meet the target of net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 they must better support the circular economy by improving how much of the waste they produce can be reused, recycled and repurposed, according to the head of a waste management firm.
Chris Williams, founder and CEO of ISB Global, a software and solutions provider for the waste management and recycling sector, has called upon European companies to respond to EU regulations and take “a more proactive approach to monitoring the way customers, suppliers and they themselves manage waste in order to reduce the amount that is sent to landfill”.
Williams said: ““According to the EU, five tonnes of waste is produced each year by the average European, but only 38% of the bloc’s waste is recycled – with more than 60% still going to landfill.
“EU member states have significant work to do, and part of this is covered by the EU’s waste management policies. These policies are designed to promote a circular economy within the bloc, limiting landfill use, improving general waste management and encouraging better approaches to recycling and reuse.”
In November 2022, the EU announced its approach to EU-wide rules on packaging. There are three main elements to this legislation:
- Prevent the generation of new packaging waste by restricting unnecessary packaging and promoting reusable and refillable packaging solutions;
- Boost high-quality recycling to make all packaging produced in the EU recyclable by 2030; and
- Reduce the need for primary materials and build a thriving secondary market for raw materials.
Williams added: “For waste management and recycling companies, the detail is in how the EU waste and recycling legislation promotes the circular economy, so preventing waste from going to landfill by reuse or recycling is important… Promoting the resale of useful materials while also encouraging producers to be more ‘waste-aware’ is a key part of the EU’s approach.”
He said: “Waste management providers need to demonstrate that they can collect, separate and reuse, recycle or repurpose waste,” he explained. “The businesses they collect from should have to prove that their suppliers meet the necessary requirements as well.
“It’s also clear that consumers are often confused by labelling and the terminology used for various packaging types... This adversely affects proper recycling and can lead to recyclable packaging ending up in landfill.
“To reduce the volume of waste sent to landfill, and remain competitive in their industry, waste management and recycling providers need to have complete visibility across all their business operations – everything from order management and route planning to the weighbridge and site management."