A Canadian circular economy reality

(EurActiv, 17 Feb 2017) Edmonton has become the first city which turns all non-compostable and non-recyclable household waste into methanol, ethanol and green chemicals. Europe should take notice, writes Lambert van Nistelrooij.

Lambert van Nistelrooij, is a Dutch Member of the European Parliament for the European People’s Party (EPP).

The European Union has strong ambitions to play a leading role in moving from a linear economy towards a circular economy. In order to make this a reality, it will require all of us to think outside of the box and to learn from examples set around the world. The technology is available, but we have to speed up. In September last year, together with fellow MEPs, I participated in a working visit to Canada. On our trip, organised by the European Energy Foundation, we had the opportunity to witness how the City of Edmonton, Alberta, turns its garbage into useful commodities.

Edmonton, a city of more than 1 million inhabitants, produces like so many big cities a vast amount of waste. Until recently, all of this waste was sent to landfill, a practice still widespread in the EU according to recent Eurostat data. Through innovative thinking, Edmonton will soon reduce landfilling by 90%. What did they do and what can the EU learn from this?

EurActiv, 17 Feb 2017: A Canadian circular economy reality