In an informal ministerial meeting in Ghent (Belgium) on 12-13 July, the Belgian EU presidency presented its intentions to promote a sustainable management of materials (SMM) initiative in the manufacturing sector with the goal of limiting resource depletion and pollution of air, soil and water.
The objective is to move from waste policies to "materials policies" that cover the full lifecycle of products and manufactured goods, as well as to cover issues from the extraction of raw materials to product design, manufacture, consumption and disposal.
During the meeting, the presidency presented a scientific study that identifies 12 areas that would benefit from the SMM approach, including closed loop industry systems for residues (of construction waste for example), biomaterials and cradle-to-cradle or IT systems that track the logistics supply chain. Flemish Environment minister, Joke Schauvliege, recommended setting long-term targets on materials use and developing "beyond GDP" indicators to measure progress.
Sources: Euractiv, Belgian EU Presidency