ISWA Beacon 4th Conference on Waste Prevention and Recycling
4 August 2014
The 4th ISWA Beacon Conference on Waste Prevention &
Recycling was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, 16-17 June 2014.
The conference title was Resource Efficiency - "Closing the
The Beacon conference focused on closing material loops by
quantitative and qualitative waste prevention, by designing loops
without waste and by bringing valuable waste materials back in the
raw material loops. Waste prevention and recycling are not goals by
themselves, but rather methods of reaching the goal of resource
efficiency by closing the material loops. The growth issue is one
of the main drivers of the agenda, why the school of circular
economy was presented and discussed at the conference.
Resource efficiency is becoming more than just an environmental
issue - it is also a key issue for development of green growth and
The transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient Europe
providing jobs, economic growth, and a sustainable future is a
major challenge and will require a political framework where
circular economy is rewarded. A fundamental transformation must
take place within a generation - in energy, industry, agriculture,
fisheries, and transport systems, and in producer and consumer
According to the EU Road Map of Resource Efficiency this calls
for a fundamental change of the EU economy in order to succeed with
the EU growth strategy 'Europe 2020'. The waste management sector
plays a central role in the resource efficiency set-up as a future
supplier of secondary raw materials.
The key questions for resource efficiency and circular economy are
how to create economic opportunities and improved security of
supply through product redesign, sustainable management of
environmental resources, higher reuse, recycling and
substitution of materials, and resource savings. Decoupling growth
from resource use is an absolute necessity but how to do it? These
challenges were addressed on the first day of the conference.
In a resource efficient perspective especially plastic waste is
challenging; closing the plastic loop is the subject of the
second day of the conference. The EU Commission has recently issued
the EU strategy on plastic waste and the European Parliament has
responded in their newly issued resolution to the strategy. Both EU
institutions find plastic waste a very important and valuable
secondary resource. The EU calls for increasing the recycling of
plastic as well as preventing contaminating substances entering the
plastic loop already in the production phase. The City of
Copenhagen has been the leading partner of an EU LIFE+ project
"Plastic Zero". The results of the project, among other
issues, were presented at the conference.
More information about the conference and the presentations can
be found on the conference's website: http://www.beacon-cph.dk/
Figure 1. New bicycle bridge enhancing green
mobility in the city of Copenhagen under construction.