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More efforts needed to address land sources of marine litter

Amid a rise in plastic waste, more must be done across Europe to tackle the root causes of marine litter at its source to prevent the waste from polluting in-land rivers and making its way to our coastlines and seas, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) web report published today.

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Winners of EEA 2022 Well with Nature photo competition announced

A moody shot of a windswept lighthouse in an approaching storm on the Dutch coast, which won the Public Choice Award, headlines this year’s winners of the EEA’s ‘Well with Nature’ photo competition announced today. The 2022 competition was the EEA’s largest ever, drawing a record 5236 entries from across Europe.

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Circularity can enhance greenhouse gas emission savings when renovating Europe's buildings

Building renovation is a key contributor to improving energy efficiency and to achieving a climate neutral European Union (EU) by 2050. A European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing, published today, investigates how circular economy principles can enhance the benefits of building renovation. It finds that, through 2050, circularity can significantly reduce the use of materials and contribute significant additional reductions in the CO2 emissions embedded in Europe’s buildings.

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Making Europe’s sewage treatment plants more efficient and circular can help meet zero-pollution targets

Sewage treatment can play a key role in Europe’s shift to a zero-pollution future by becoming more resource efficient and contributing to the circular economy, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report published today.

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Consumers can play key role in creating demand for ‘circular’ goods and services

While companies have huge influence in framing and shaping demand for products, consumers play a key role in raising demand for goods and services that have adopted circular economy principles, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing published today.

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Europe is not on track to halve non-recycled municipal waste by 2030

The European Union (EU) circular economy action plan aims to halve the amount of municipal waste in the EU that is not recycled by 2030. According to a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing, published today, achieving this target requires both reducing waste generation and considerably increasing recycling, possibly even beyond the binding recycling target of 60%. A second EEA briefing reviews municipal waste management in the Western Balkan countries.

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A better understanding of links between natural resources can help the EU’s sustainability drive

Addressing the links between natural resources like food, energy, water, land, materials and ecosystems services is key to supporting Europe’s ambitions in shifting to a sustainable future, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing published today.

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Circular business models and smarter design can reduce environment and climate impacts from textiles

Textile consumption in Europe has on average the fourth highest impacts on the environment and climate, following consumption of food, housing and mobility. Ahead of the expected European Union (EU) strategy for sustainable and circular textiles, the European Environment Agency (EEA) published today two briefings that look at measures to reduce those impacts, including on resource use, greenhouse gas emissions and microplastic pollution.

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Clear opportunities to decouple Europe’s waste generation from economic growth

In most European countries and in the EU as a whole, waste generation is growing but at a slower pace than the economy. However, there are no signs that the overall objective of reducing the total generation of waste is close to being achieved, according to a European Environment Agency report published today. The report’s findings highlight opportunities to more effectively prevent waste, with textiles in the spotlight.

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Better raw material sourcing can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Climate-friendly practices for sourcing raw materials hold significant potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Europe and globally. According to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report, published today, focusing on raw material extraction and processing, raw material consumers can use their purchasing power to influence suppliers to become more climate friendly. Including sourcing requirements in public procurement and provisions in trade agreements could help the EU and Member States cut emissions both in Europe and also contribute to global reductions.

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Rapid shift to evolving renewable energy technologies poses new waste challenge for Europe

A rapid transition to renewable energy is necessary if Europe is to achieve its climate objectives. Developing the infrastructure to enable this change will require substantial resources and generate large volumes of waste as equipment reaches the end of its service life. Applying circular economy principles in this sector provides a win-win approach to address both these issues, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing released today.

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COVID-19 in Europe: increased pollution from masks, gloves and other single-use plastics

The coronavirus pandemic has challenged European societies in many ways. The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) briefing, published today, analyses the pandemic’s effect on the use of certain single-use plastics products, which cause greenhouse gas and other emissions and can end up littering the environment. It also brings useful lessons to improve our response to future disruptive events.

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Advanced digital technologies can play a crucial role in making Europe’s waste management systems more circular and sustainable

Digital technologies like robotics, cloud computing and artificial intelligence will help improve the sustainability of Europe’s waste management systems. According to a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing released today, increased use of these technologies can help deliver more effective waste management across Europe, improving logistics, recycling rates and enable better purchasing and sorting decisions by consumers.

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Plastics, a growing environmental and climate concern: how can Europe revert that trend?

The ever-increasing amount of plastic, its impact on biodiversity and contribution to climate change, and how to deal with it in a circular economy perspective have been on the European Union’s policy agenda for years. The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the attention for plastic waste with images of masks in our seas, and large amounts of single-use protective gear. In the circular plastics economy report, published today, the European Environment Agency (EEA) analyses the need and potential for a shift to a circular and sustainable approach to our use of plastics.

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Better awareness of biodegradable, compostable plastics disposal would help tackle Europe’s plastics problem

Biodegradable, compostable and bio-based plastic products like shopping bags, packaging or drinking cups are being increasingly promoted as greener solution than traditional plastic products for consumers. But how environmentally-friendly are they? A European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing released today says clearer labelling and better public awareness will improve the correct disposal of these plastics so that they don’t end up doing more harm than good.

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Greater circularity in the buildings sector can lead to major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions

Improving efficiency and reuse of materials to construct houses and other buildings can open significant new opportunities to further reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing released today.

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Doubling recycling across Europe is feasible, for certain waste streams

There is significant potential to increase recycling across Europe for municipal, construction and electronic waste according to a European Environment Agency briefing released today. Compared to current recycled amounts, this potential can double recycling for municipal and electronic waste and increase it by 30 % for construction and demolition waste.

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Longer-lasting electronics benefit environment, climate and circular economy

Extending the lifetime and delaying obsolescence of electronics can significantly reduce their environmental and climate impacts and contribute to meeting the European Union’s (EU) environment, climate and circular economy objectives. According to a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing, published today, smartphones, televisions, washing machines and vacuum cleaners all are used on average for shorter periods than both their designed and desired lifetimes.

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Reducing and recycling food and garden waste to boost Europe's circular economy

Bio-waste is one of the key waste streams in Europe and holds great potential for the circular economy. According to the European Environment Agency’s new assessment, reducing and using bio-waste could cut emissions, improve soils and provide energy. Recycling bio-waste is also key for meeting the European Union’s target to recycle 65 % of municipal waste by 2035.

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Robust monitoring and targets are key in shifting Europe to a more circular economy

Introducing more robust monitoring and targets to spur Europe’s move to a circular economy would help improve resource efficiency, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report published today.

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