Circular economy makes Europe’s consumption more sustainable


Copenhagen – The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published two reports on household consumption. The reports note that while Europe has reduced greenhouse gases, exploitation of land, water and other resources has increased.

Europe is leading the world in efforts to transition to a green economy. Despite Europe’s impressive progress, the pressures resulting from household consumption in the region continue to cause climate change, pollute the environment, and threaten biodiversity.

For example, while greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution declined between 2000 and 2019, Europe’s consumption of raw materials, land and water increased by 26 percent, the European Environment Agency reports. Food, housing and services accounted for around 75 percent of this consumption.

Circular economies could reduce the negative impact of this consumption, according to a June 13 EEA media release. “Current consumption trends in Europe are unsustainable, as efficiency gains in the production value chain do not appear to be sufficient to compensate for rising consumption in the long term,” the agency’s statement said. “In addition, many ecosystems are already stressed beyond their capacity to regenerate.”

The EEA has simultaneously published two opinions on “Environmental and climate pressures from household consumption in Europe” and “Conditions and pathways for sustainable and circular consumption in Europe”.

It shows how the promotion of products and services that use fewer raw materials and more renewable or reused resources, together with product life extension, collaborative use, new designs to facilitate repair, reuse and recycle of products, would reduce the consumption of raw materials in Europe. ce/jd