Towards a circular economy: A zero waste programme for Europe

Valuable materials are leaking from our economies. In a world where demand and competition for finite and sometimes scarce resources will continue to increase, and pressure on resources is causing greater environmental degradation and fragility, Europe can benefit economically and environmentally from making better use of those resources. Since the industrial revolution, our economies have developed a ‘take-make-consume and dispose’ pattern of growth — a linear model based on the assumption that resources are abundant, available, easy to source and cheap to dispose of. It is increasingly being understood that this threatens the competitiveness of Europe.