When I throw away my sandwich bag, my salad box or my water bottle after lunch, they don’t disappear – they become waste. The plastic that I discard without thought is washing up in our oceans and devastating our sea life. And what enters our seas, ends up on our plate. It has been estimated that 30% of the fish I buy might have plastic in their gut. The EU is taking action to reduce the amount plastic we waste, to keep it out of our oceans and to make all plastic packaging recyclable by 2030.
What's your passion? Learn more about
MY ENVIRONMENT. MY LIFE.
Recycle, reuse, repair and stop plastic getting into our seas
Think twice before discarding household appliances that still work – in order to become sustainable, we need to change the way we think about reusing things. By increasing the efficiency of my products through specific Ecodesign regulations, the EU is building a society where goods are designed to last, to be repaired easily, and when they reach the end of their useful lives, to be recycled. So stitch up that coat, fix the vacuum cleaner and recycle the refrigerator – it is a valuable resource for our economy, and better for the environment!
Remember that power tool I bought years ago? I’ve only used it for two DIY projects – maybe it would have been better to share it? The EU drive towards the circular economy is encouraging citizens to be smart when it comes to saving and reusing their possessions. Borrowing shops, repair cafés and recycling boutiques are springing up all over the EU, encouraging a green, harmonious and creative way of using and reusing products.
Whether it’s a broken old TV or a laptop that has given up, my electrical items still have a purpose – the precious metals inside them can be used again. The EU is ensuring that these precious metals are extracted properly, limiting waste and making it easy for old keyboards and broken DVD players to be useful again. So the next time my toaster bites the dust, I can help to protect the planet’s valuable natural resources by recycling it.
We’ve all got to do our bit for the environment – and the EU is no different. As a direct result of EU legislation, I live in a society that is continually improving its waste management strategies. Landfill sites that fell below EU standards have to close, public buildings are now more energy efficient leading to fewer fossil fuels being consumed, and more waste than ever before is being recycled. Not only this, but EU investment has meant that 7 million people have been connected to new or improved wastewater treatment facilities.
How it works
The EU is shifting from a throwaway society, which wastes natural resources and contributes to climate change, to a green, sustainable, circular economy. Under EU rules, companies are now required to design products that last longer and are easier to repair, reuse and recycle. Ambitious waste reduction and recycling targets have been set, and finding ways to turn one industry’s waste into another’s raw material is a priority.
Did you know
The weight of municipal waste generated per person, per year in the EU – about the same weight as a grizzly bear!
of municipal waste was either recycled or composted in 2016 – an increase of 30% since 1995.
The proportion of plastic waste that comes directly from packaging.
The number of people in the EU currently working in eco-industries or green jobs – a sector that has grown much faster than other areas of the economy since the year 2000.
€500 per year
The amount each household in the EU could save by reducing food waste.
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Party Animal, directed by Yorgos Zois
Alex is an energetic twenty five year-old who will do anything he can to keep dancing. Trapped in a restrictive job, he's suddenly hit by a spark of inspiration.
The Loner, directed by Tomasz Konecki
A man of the wilderness, Jan lives alone in a cabin in the Polish mountains. But when destiny interrupts his solitary lifestyle, he must devise a plan in order to follow his heart.
Debut, directed by Dalibor Matanić
A young Croatian farmer dreams of becoming a professional football star. But before pursuing his ambition on the pitch, he must first face the truth about who he really is.
How does the EU help you do what you love?
Ever dream of starting a business, studying abroad, or volunteering to help communities in need? And did you know the EU can support you in achieving all of these things? Discover everything the EU gives you to unlock your potential.