Resource efficiency and waste
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Waste is a pressing environmental, social and economic issue. Increasing consumption and a developing economy continue to generate large amounts of waste - with more effort required to reduce and prevent it. While waste was viewed as disposable in the past, today it is increasingly recognised as a resource; this is reflected in the waste management shift away from disposal towards recycling and recovery. More
- Key facts and messages
- The number of countries recycling and composting more than 30% of municipal waste increased from 11 to 17 out of 35, and those landfilling more than 75% of their municipal waste declined from 11 to 8. more
- Generation of municipal waste per capita has declined slightly from 2004 to 2012, but it is clearly better managed now than ten years ago. more
- The large differences in performance indicate room for further improvement and actions to meet the 2020 target to recycle 50% of municipal waste. more
- Guided by diverse policies, European countries have improved waste management. Manufacturing and service sector waste declined by about a quarter in 2004–2012, while municipal waste generation fell 2%. Along with increased recycling, these... more
Despite improvements in hazardous waste management, more measures would be required to prevent the build-up of hazardous waste across Europe, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report released today. The report reviews the application of waste prevention programmes across European countries regarding waste types that are considered to be most dangerous to human health and the environment.
European countries are improving their methods to prevent household trash and other municipal waste from ending up in landfill sites. Recycling rates, in particular, have increased considerably across Europe over the past decade, due in part to European environmental policies, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment published today.
Many European countries are realising the economic benefits of making more efficient use of material resources like metals, fossil fuels and minerals. But more action is needed to underpin this trend in resource efficiency with stronger policies on energy, material resources, waste management and on circular economy. These are the findings from a new European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment published today.
The use of fossil fuels across the European Union continues to decline due in part to increased consumption of renewable energy sources like wind, solar and biomass, according to a report published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The report, which assesses progress on the use of renewable energy, found that clean energy technologies are an important driving force in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in creating employment in Europe.
Last December in Paris, the world set itself an ambitious target: limiting the global average temperature rise well below 2 degrees, while aiming to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. At the G20 summit earlier this month, China and the United States announced their formal commitment to join the Paris agreement. This is a major step forward for the international effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming. Nevertheless, the current reduction commitments made so far by signatory countries are not sufficient to meet this ambitious target.
The future looks bright for renewable energy sources which are playing an increasingly important role as Europe tries to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. We talked about the opportunities and challenges ahead for clean energy with Mihai Tomescu, energy expert at the European Environment Agency.
Our current resource use is not sustainable and is putting pressure on our planet. We need to facilitate a transition towards a circular, green economy by moving beyond waste policies and focusing on eco-design, innovation and investments. Research can foster not only innovation in production, but also in business models and financing mechanisms.
The climate deal agreed in Paris by 195 countries is the first-ever universal and legally binding agreement of its kind. The Paris agreement is the result of many years of preparation, dialogue and growing awareness of the need to tackle current and potential impacts of climate change. It constitutes a major and promising step towards building a low-carbon and climate-resilient world. It also sends a clear signal to policy makers and businesses to move away from fossil fuels and invest in clean energy and adaptation actions.
The report ‘Prevention of hazardous waste in Europe – the status in 2015’ is the third in a series of annual reviews of waste prevention programmes in Europe as stipulated by the Waste Framework Directive. EU Member States are obliged to adopt waste prevention programmes, while EEA is invited to carry out review on their completion and implementation.
This report was developed in cooperation with the European Environment Information and Observation Network (Eionet) — a partnership network of the EEA and its member and cooperating countries involving more than 1 000 experts and 350 national institutions across Europe. Drawing on evidence collected from across the network, the report represents an initial attempt to explore what the concepts of sustainability transitions and transformations mean in practice, and how the EEA and Eionet can help develop the knowledge needed to support systemic change in Europe. Case studies are used to explain and illustrate key concepts and to give a sense of what activities are already under way at local levels. The report concludes with reflections from the EEA's Scientific Committee and Executive Director, which provide further insights into the new knowledge needs and the potential role of the EEA and Eionet in responding to them.
This briefing is a synthesis of the outcomes of a country-by-country analysis that addressed 32 EEA countries: EU-28 Member States, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey (ETC/WMGE, 2016), complemented with some information from the Western Balkan countries.
A scoping study on the links between public communication, environment policy implementation and behavioural science. In its Multiannual Work Programme 2014-2018, the EEA highlights the need for a transition towards a more sustainable society, fully aligned with the European Union’s 7th Environment Action Programme. This study explores - and aims to develop - the role of public communication to improve the implementation of environmental legislation and to contribute to this debate by bringing communications, environment and behaviour closer. It draws from other EEA work, in particular on consumption and policy evaluation where relevant.