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MEPs call for “systemic change” to address resource scarcity

MEPs have called for systemic change to address resource scarcity in a recent press release. The resolution passed by the ENVI committee of the European Parliament calls for binding waste-reduction targets, revamped ecodesign legislation and measures to break the link between growth and the use of natural resources.The environment committee called on the Commission to table new legislation by the end of 2015.According to MEPs involved, the European Commission should be proposing new legislation by the end of of 2015 that includes:

  • waste prevention measures;
  • binding waste-reduction targets for municipal, commercial and industrial waste to be achieved by 2025;
  • application of the “pay as you throw” principle;
  • targets for recycling and preparation for reuse to be raised to at least 70% of municipal solid waste and 80% of packaging waste by 2030;
  • incineration to be strictly limited by 2020 to non-recyclable and non-biodegradable waste;
  • a binding, gradual reduction of all landfill waste.


  • promote a life-cycle oriented approach towards product policy and ecodesign;
  • a review of eco-design legislation by the end of 2016, broadening its scope and covering all product groups;
  • definitions of the requirements for criteria such as durability, repairability, reusability and recyclability;

 They also want the Commission to draw up measures to eliminate planned obsolescence.

Systemic change

To tackle the problem of scarce resources, the extraction and use of resources must be reduced and the link between growth and the use of natural resources must be severed. The committee says that In order to switch to the sustainable use of resources by 2050, EU policy must require:

  • a reduction, in absolute terms, of resource consumption to sustainable levels;
  • strict application of the waste hierarchy;
  • implementation of a cascading use of resources;
  • greater use of renewables,
  • phasing-out of toxic substances;
  • Improvements in the quality of ecosystem services

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) deemed it "a strong statement to the European Commission by voting in favour of an ambitious strategy to develop a circular economy" while the executive director of Plastics Europe Karl-H. Foerster called it "a step closer towards Zero Plastics to landfill by 2025".

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Issue 43