Municipal Waste Europe published a paper on the essential role municipalities and their waste management companies play in making the EU resource-efficiency strategy a success.
Whereas resource-efficiency is ever more important in a world of economic and planetary constraints, this not only requires sustainable production processes, it also calls for coordinated action plans to recover the resources in products and materials in order to close the loops of production, consumption, use and re-use of resources. This paper addresses Municipal Waste Europe’s view on this issue for each of the three pillars of sustainability: Economic, Social, and Environmental.
Municipalities play a key role in the circular economy for material resources, having direct communication channels to their citizens and thereby being able to ensure that they are made aware of any new rules or changes in collection methods or schedules as well as informing them why this is the case and what happens to the materials collected. This optimises collection rates, both in terms of quality and quantity and ensures that recycling and re-use are preferred over options lower down the waste hierarchy.
To enable all European Member States to achieve the higher levels of the waste hierarchy and so also to help stabilise their economies, inter-municipal communication and knowledge brokerage must be fostered. As waste and behaviour are local issues, they need local solutions. Knowledge can be passed from those with more experience to those with less, with the clear understanding that one size does not fit all and that those just starting out must opt for the simplest, least costly treatment methods.