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
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.
The environmental benefits of adopting a circular economy in Europe could be considerable – reducing waste, and minimising the continent’s heavy dependence on imports of raw materials. A new report published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA) draws attention to both the benefits and challenges of such an economic transition. The report also describes possible ways to measure progress and highlights the areas where more attention is required from research and policy in order to turn the concept into reality.
Cities increasingly require and use natural resources and energy to sustain daily life and activities of the urban population. Their impacts are felt across the globe. But cities can also be designed and changed in ways to offer opportunities to reduce resource needs and environmental impacts. Three new reports by the European Environment Agency (EEA) take a closer look at what a resource-efficient city is and what cities can do to enhance urban sustainability while improving the well-being of their residents.
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.
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.
This report presents an overview of approaches to material resource efficiency and to circular economy in thirty two European countries. It explores similarities and differences in national policy responses, with respect to policy objectives, priority resources and sectors, driving forces, targets and indicators, and the institutional setup. The report also reviews the EU policy framework for resource efficiency and analyses trends in material use and resource productivity between 2000 and 2014. Finally, it includes a number of considerations for the development of future policies on material resource efficiency and the circular economy. The analysis is richly illustrated with some sixty examples of countries’ policy initiatives, described in more detail in the 32 country profiles published alongside the main report.
This report complements the findings shown in the "Trends and Projections in Europe 2015 - Tracking progress towards Europe's climate and energy targets" report with details about the 2013 renewable energy sources (RES) progress at EU and at country level, and for key RES technologies. Furthermore, it provides approximated estimates for RES development in 2014 and seeks to answer the following key questions: Which fossil energy sources were substituted by the growth of RES consumption since 2005 and what would have been their GHG emissions? How do European RES developments compare against renewable energy transformations occurring in other parts of the world?
The report describes the concept of the circular economy and outlines its key characteristics. It draws attention to both the benefits and challenges in transitioning to such an economy and highlights possible ways to measure progress.