The European Union has announced that there will be, must be, lots more recycling. As we've said for many years now, we're all in favour of recycling that makes a profit. Profit being, of course, the value added by undertaking an activity. We've also been saying, for those same years, that recycling that makes a loss isn't a good idea as what's the point of destroying value, of making everyone poorer? But the EU likes targets and targets there will be and that's that then. But we're still hugely interested in how they're going to pull this particular trick off:
Europe’s throwaway society will come to an end by 2030 under a wide-ranging set of proposals by the European Commission to create what it calls a circular economy.
The plans include lots of recycling to get maximum value out of every raw material, redesigning to make sure what one buys does not become obsolete in a few years; and better design to make goods easy to repair.
It will also set tough targets for countries, including Ireland, to vastly reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and touch every aspect of life, from fertilisers to food, and cars to washing machines and phones.
The new targets are slated to save consumers and producers billions of euro a year, create jobs and products, and make a real contribution towards protecting the environment and fighting climate change.
Other reports suggest that the plans will create 2 million jobs. And that's the bit we don't understand.
Jobs are, obviously, a cost of doing something. People want to get paid for doing them: and there's only us consumers around to pay them, whether through prices or taxes. So, the plan will mean that we must pay the wages of 2 million more people and yet it's going to save us money?
How does that work?
That's quite apart from the gross stupidity of this:
Changes in the design of products like phones, which contain tiny amounts of valuable but scarce minerals, should also improve Europe’s competitiveness in the battle with China and other countries for a share of these precious products.
The rare earths, which is what they're really talking about, are being given away these days at well under production cost. And global resources of them will last to some point near the heat death of the universe at current consumption rates. We're not even in a battle with China about them either. The whole idea is simply divorced from any form of reality.