HANNOVER: Janez Potočnik, European commissioner for the Environment, says decoupling growth from resource use is an integral part of the EU's future competitiveness.
Speaking in Hannover on March 07, he said that if European companies of all sizes and in all sectors don't prepare for future resource constraints they will not survive.
Acknowledging the growth of the circular economy in Germany, Potočnik said for the past decade, the country's manufacturing companies have spent twice as much on material resources as they have on human resources.
"Environmentalists have talked for many years about the importance of recycling – another area where Germany does relatively well. Recycling basically means that instead of burying materials in landfills when they have been used once, we pump them back into productive use. It is a circular economy system; it is resource efficient; it means we get more value added out of each ton of materials. And usually whilst using much less energy.
"We did not invent the idea of the circular economy, but today, in the face of global pressure on resources, the economic and business arguments have become overwhelming. We must not waste the potential of waste," he added.
Potočnik said he will be announcing in the next few weeks revised targets for recycling waste and reducing landfill as part of comprehensive approach to moving to a circular economy, particularly for buildings and food.