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First points of the agenda: circular economy and pollution dossiers. In the meanwhile, Rotterdam inaugurates the first fully recycled street.
European circular economy finds a new supporter in the Netherlands: the country, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, announced that the main priority in the EU agenda will be given to two dossiers concerning circular economy and air pollution limits. “However, sustainable growth involves more than CO2 reduction alone”, writes the new presidency, adding that “our economy must not only become climate-neutral, but circular. A circular economy is based on wise use of resources and obtaining raw materials from waste, through reuse or recycling”.
The aim set by the Dutch presidency is to reach a common position among all 28 member states by June 2016, in order to proceed to negotiations with the Parliament and the executive organs. Further discussions are expected to take place in early 2016 on the following topics: Habitat and Birds directives; “nature-saving” laws that are currently under revision by the European commission; the next steps to be undertaken after the UNO Paris climate conference, specially concerning marine and air transport emissions that were not included in the global agreement; sustainable transports, an issue that has been gaining new attention since the Volkswagen scandal.
Not only do the Netherlands advance proposals, they also implement virtuous practices: the most recent case concerns the city of Rotterdam, where bike lanes will be made of 100% recycled asphalt, thanks to the cooperation of the Rotterdam harbour, the main Dutch road construction company KWS, and the American company Arizona Chemical.
The American chemical company namely developed a compound with rejuvenating properties that regenerates the bitumen used in asphalt. This additive is obtained from a viscous liquid called tattolo, a by-product from pine wood pulp processing.
This product allows streets that are fully made of recycled asphalt to be reliable and durable. A surprising result, considering that the percentage of recycled material in asphalt today is not superior to 30%, a limit that until now could not be exceeded without causing problems such as cracks, subsiding or decay.