At Circular Economy working group meeting in Brussels

On May 22-23, I took part in a circular economy working group meeting hosted by European Environmental Bureau (EEB), one of our partners. The EU has taken many ambitious targets regarding waste and at the meeting we took a look at how member states are doing.

We often focus on plastic and packaging and forget that a lot can be improved in waste management if we effectively organise biowaste collection and send it back to soil as compost. And waste collection doesn’t always need complicated systems – in some smaller villages in Italy waste is collected with donkeys,for example.

The meeting also reminded usthat there are other materials besides plastic we need to think of. E-waste (electronic waste) is the fastest growing waste stream, primarly connected to the fact that our electronic devices either don’t last that long or are simply not used long enough. That is why EEEB is also promoting the #RightToRepair campaign and collaborating with organisations (like the Restart Project and iFixit) pushing for repairability in electronic products, like washing machines and fridges.

It's nice to see reusable options everywhere. The catering food at the meeting was delivered in these stackable containers.

It’s nice to see reusable options everywhere. The catering food at the meeting was delivered in these stackable containers.

We also talked about other largeand difficult waste such astextiles. By 2025,all EU member states need to collect textile waste separately and send it to recycling, yet it remains a challenge for most countries. One reason is that textile is technically difficult to recycle. Textiles have been named as a priority product category for the EU circular economy strategy and there have been talks about European Textiles Strategy. There have also been some interesting studies on the topic, like Circular Fashion Advocacy by Ecopreneur.

It was nice to meet people from organisations from all over Europe, doing their bit for better resource management in their countries. And it’s great to think that there are lots of them and many things are being done in different fields.

Kadri Kalle is Let’s Do It team member since 2017, her tasks focus around education and circular economy solutions.