As today’s consumer society has expanded, so has the consumption of resources and the
waste it produces. Municipal waste, industrial waste… the population of the EU throws
away 2.7 billion tonnes of it every year, of which 98 million tonnes are hazardous.
On the other hand, competition for a diminishing supply of virgin raw materials is intensifying, as huge economies like China and India boost their manufacturing activities in response to domestic and foreign demand. Vital resources such as water and energy are becoming harder to secure. As the problem gets worse, it could endanger growth and
impact prosperity worldwide, or irreversibly harm the environment.
But things are changing. Waste is ceasing to be regarded as merely a problem to dispose of, as people become aware of its potential as a reusable resource for a wide range of purposes.