EU plans to tackle throw-away economy

BRUSSELS, Nov 4 (Reuters) – EU regulators plan to make it easier to repair or re-use anything from electrical appliances to buildings, saying in a draft document that instruction manuals need to explain how to mend, rather than just throw away goods.

The European Commission has said it is “a passionate believer” in the business argument to move from a throw-away economy to a circular one based on more recycling and less waste. It is expected to outline a strategy to make the European Union’s economy more sustainable in December.

Taking up an idea that some in the building industry have suggested, it says builders should provide demolition guidelines to ensure the recovery of useful resources at the end of a building’s life.

Guidelines would also seek to ensure management of hazardous waste and “voluntary industry-wide recycling protocols” for the building sector.

A draft version of the Commission’s plan, seen by Reuters, said it could improve data and quality control of recycled raw materials such as plastics and metals, known as “secondary raw materials”.

The Commission is seeking to increase recycling levels and reduce the amounts of metals, plastic, food and other bio matter that are wasted.

In the European Union, Commission data shows about 40 percent of household waste is recycled as an average across the 28-member bloc.

The Commission targets plastics specifically, stating less than 25 percent of plastic waste collected is recycled and about 50 percent goes to landfill or lands up in the ocean where it poses a threat to wildlife.

“The Commission will prepare a strategy that will examine the challenges posed by plastics throughout the value chain,” it said.

On food, it will be looking at labelling, which sometimes persuades consumers they need to throw food away before they need to.

The document proposes a common EU methodology and indicator to measure food waste and to examine ways to improve the use and understanding of date-marking for consumers.

The European Commission has a policy of not commenting on unpublished documents, but an official confirmed Commissioners would assess the strategy in early December, pending publication. (Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)




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