Vice-Minister M. Gudas: “Circular economy is a reward from each of us to nature”2017-04-07
Halfway through negotiations on the Circular Economy Policy and the implementation of its objectives, the European Commission has presented a report on works accomplished in 2016 and introduced plans for 2017. In the plan for the implementation of the Government Programme of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Environment has included measures designed to promote the shift towards the circular economy and implement its ambitious goals.
A circular economy, differently from a linear economy, is aimed at a more sustainable and effective use of resources in the product development and manufacturing process, a closed-loop product cycle, turning waste into resources and increasing waste recycling and reuse of materials.
Among the most important works of the European Commission in the field of circular economy were initiatives such as new standards for the production of television sets, a fertiliser production regulation, the extension of the guarantee period for online sales of goods from six months to two years, the obligation for manufacturers of plastics to inform recyclers of chemical substances contained in their plastic products, the initiative to apply the green public procurement criteria to the construction of roads and office buildings and to computers, the application of best available techniques in wastewater treatment and waste management processes, and other initiatives.
“A circular economy is not only the duty of the state to establish a legal framework for the reduced and more effective use of natural resources. It is a reward from each of us to nature for the things we take from it to create a more comfortable life for ourselves. The objectives of the European Commission for the coming decade are ambitious and fairly drastic for the sole reason that we leave for the future generations a Europe and a planet that are good to live in. The Government Programme of the Republic of Lithuania incorporates measures that will facilitate the shift towards a circular economy. Within the coming decade Lithuania will have to make even more efforts to ensure the recycling of the majority of its waste”, says Vice-Minister of Environment Mindaugas Gudas.
The European Commission has set targets by 2030 to recycle 65% of municipal waste and up to 75% of packaging, and landfill not more than 10% of waste. In 2015, Lithuania, recycled 23%, composted 10%, recovered for energy production 11% and landfilled 54% of waste. It is noteworthy that the European Parliament has proposed tougher waste recycling targets, i.e. by 2030 to recycle 70% of municipal waste and up to 80% of packaging, and dispose in landfills not more than 5% of waste. After the targets proposed by the European Parliament receive approval, the EU member states, including Lithuania, will have to ensure their achievement.
The Government of the Republic of Lithuania has foreseen measures to increase the placing on the market of recyclable products and packaging, and promote broader reuse of items and their preparation for recycling. It has been provided that the taxes for environmental pollution by waste will be reviewed to set rates that promote waste reduction and recycling, implement separate collection of food waste, approve the criteria for compost recycling as well as the end-of-waste criteria, and other measures.