The EU set new recycling targets this week, with seventy percent of household waste (and 80% of packaging waste) to be recycled by 2030. The targets also stated that by 2025 there will be a total ban on recyclable material being sent to landfill and from 2030 this ban will extend to all recoverable municipal waste.
I believe the EU's ambitious targets should be celebrated ensuring it's a level playing field in the way we measure and implement. But the UK Government has called for the Commission to allow Member States to pursue their own recycling and prevention targets, missing the opportunity to send a positive message on recycling and to inspire action on a new green agenda.
We are on the cusp of a circular economy, an industry that according to Defra has the potential to deliver £23 billion in savings to UK business. So let's not miss this chance to make a big step toward realising and developing the circular economy.
In essence the argument is moving on. Our ability to recycle and keep products within the circular economy has improved dramatically. We look forward to a time when, after a product is used, the question is not "can this be recycled?" but "what will this be turned into?"
This is what recycling and embracing a circular economy means to Veolia. It means 56 million litres of paint - enough to fill 20 Olympic sized swimming pools - being recycled to create new products, rotting food being converted into low cost energy, and green waste facilitating the blossoming of gardens across the UK.
The UK cannot afford to lag behind other EU countries when it comes to acting responsibly on reducing waste and putting sustainability into practice. At Veolia, we are committed to helping the country achieve its targets through our £1bn infrastructure investment in the UK by 2018 and helping create thousands of jobs.
Let's embrace these new EU recycling targets and put the UK back where it belongs: leading from the front.