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Friday, March 21, 2008

Waste menagement or waste of menagement

EEA calls for sustainable consumption to reduce waste, CO2

7 February 2008

Even though greenhouse gas emissions from municipal waste are expected to drop considerably by 2020 due to increased recycling, Europe cannot rely on improved waste management practices to tackle unsustainable consumption and production patterns, warns the European Environment Agency (EEA).

"Europe cannot become complacent with regard to the continuing growth in waste," concludes the EEAexternal in a report analysing how better management of municipal waste can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

Published in late January, the EEA reportPdf external predicts a significant decrease in net GHGs from municipal waste by 2020 - of more than 80% compared to the late 1980s. This is mainly thanks to increased recycling and waste recovery, as well as incineration combined with energy production and diverting waste away from landfill.

However, it warns that unsustainable consumption and production patterns "in the long term may outweigh the improvements taking place in the waste management sector".

The agency predicts 25% growth in municipal waste between 2005 and 2020 "driven by several factors, such as economic activity, demographic changes, technological innovations, lifestyle and patterns of production and consumption". It warns that increasing amount of waste "could lead to saturation and increased GHG emissions due to inefficient management". Therefore it recommends keeping municipal waste to the minimum as the best course of action.

According to the EEA, each European citizen generated an average of 460kg of municipal waste in 1995 and 520kg in 2004, a figure which is expected to increase to some 680kg by 2020 "primarily due to an assumed sustained growth in private final consumption and a continuation of current trends in consumption patterns".

Waste and recycling policies are a cornerstone of EU environmental protection efforts, but the policy framework has been criticised as being too fragmented and inefficient. The current revision of the Waste Framework Directive seeks to address this issue and the EEA analysis aims to provide useful information in the context of the revision. source

My comment: I can say it even with one word-Italy! We all know about the problems raging for years there. Still they lack a recycling/burning factory. We, here in Sofia, lack one too. Cities continue to pour money in mafia's pockets instead of acting rationally and building such factories, that could help with garbage on the long run. And not only in Italy, because here, in Bulgaria, garbage is up to the mafia too. And I have suspicions it might be like this everywhere.

And one more thing, I don't see a full powered, all-Europe campaign to inform people of recycling and separate garbage. Yes, it's pretty clear, but I still see people putting glass in the bin for paper or even worst, just putting everything in the common bin. I'm not even sure if at least here, there is a reason of doing it at all- it they really recycle them or just pretend to do so. In addition to people's ignorance on the issue and the lack of information from EU's local administrations, I don't see how the problem could be really solved.

If we don't take action NOW , we'll have those problems and they will only get worst.

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