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Timmermans: ‘half circle’ green economy not enough

Europe – ‘Today is an unfortunate day for sustainable growth in Europe,’ says Plastics Recyclers Europe’s president Ton Emans of the European Commission’s decision to scrap the policy proposals regarding waste drafted by former environment commissioner Janez Potočnik. Amid industry-wide criticism, however, comes the promise that a ‘more ambitious’ circular economy plan will be introduced in 2015.

European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans has told the European Parliament: ′What we want to do is approach the circular economy in a circular way and not just a half circle, which means that we will withdraw the present waste proposal and come back with a more ambitious proposal that will cover the whole of the circular economy. And we will do this in 2015; we will not drag our feet on this.′

Timmermans stressed that the new package will be ′more effective′. This means former targets such as increasing the recycling rate of municipal waste to 70% and plastic scrap to 60% by the year 2030 will likely face revisions. Such changes were said to ensure the creation of up to 120 000 jobs in the plastics recycling sector alone, Emans has commented. Others predicted a total of Euro 600 billion in net savings and 1% GDP growth across Europe.

Timmermans advocated ′results on the ground′ while pointing to the ′unnecessary burdens′ of the previous proposal. ′At the start of the new legislative cycle, it is time to clear the decks so that time and energy can be invested in those legislative proposals that will have the biggest impact on jobs and growth and will have the best prospect of being adopted in the future,’ the vice president concluded.

The change of plan has sparked a passionate debate within the business community as well as social media platforms; indeed, #CircularEurope is now trending on Twitter.


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