Need for social inclusion in a circular economy
The RREUSE network diverts over 1 million tonnes of material from landfill every year – which is equivalent to the weight of 137 Eiffel Towers. The conference, co-organised by AERESS and Traperos de Emaús Navarra, welcomed over 140 participants from 17 different countries. RREUSE was delighted to host this important event in the region of Navarra, famous for its strong and welcome support of social enterprises and re-use activities.
The various conference workshops addressed the challenging topics of separate collection, re-use and recycling of textiles and WEEE, the social impact of re-use and the implementation of EU policy supporting re-use and preparation for re-use.
A key message from the discussion panels was the pressing need for stronger efforts in linking social considerations with the circular economy. As the director of RREUSE, Michal Len, highlighted, “the circular economy should work for everyone in our communities and not just for the more fortunate”.
On a policy note, Heli Immonen, from the European Commission (DG EMPL) insisted the climate was good for promoting social policies thanks to political guidelines including the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Green Deal, a just transition, the new Commissioner-Designate Nicolas Schmit and clear readiness of the society, including youth.
Finally, as Eszter Csiscai from the New York City Department of Sanitation, concluded, “re-use is fundamentally a human centred environmental solution”.