Today the European Commission adopted a new Circular Economy Action Plan – one of the main building blocks of the European Green Deal, Europe’s new agenda for sustainable growth.
With measures along the entire life cycle of products, the new Action Plan aims to make our economy fit for a green future, strengthen our competitiveness while protecting the environment and give new rights to consumers.
Building on the work done since 2015, the new Plan focuses on the design and production for a circular economy, with the aim to ensure that the resources used are kept in the EU economy for as long as possible. The plan and the initiatives therein will be developed with the close involvement of the business and stakeholder community.
The transition towards a circular economy is already underway, with frontrunner businesses, consumers and public authorities in Europe embracing this sustainable model. The Commission will make sure that the circular economy transition delivers opportunities for all, leaving no one behind. The Circular Economy Action Plan put forward today as part of the EU Industrial Strategy presents measures to:
- Make sustainable products the norm in the EU. The Commission will propose legislation on Sustainable Product Policy, to ensure that products placed on the EU market are designed to last longer, are easier to reuse, repair and recycle, and incorporate as much as possible recycled material instead of primary raw material. Single-use will be restricted, premature obsolescence tackled and the destruction of unsold durable goods banned.
- Empower consumers. Consumers will have access to reliable information on issues such as the reparability and durability of products to help them make environmentally sustainable choices. Consumers will benefit from a true ‘Right to Repair’.
- Focus on the sectors that use the most resources and where the potential for circularity is high. The Commission will launch concrete actions on a number of materials, including batteries and vehicles. See point 3.2 on page 11 of the Circular Economy Action Plan.
- Ensure less waste. The focus will be on avoiding waste altogether and transforming it into high-quality secondary resources that benefit from a well-functioning market for secondary raw materials. The Commission will explore setting an EU-wide, harmonised model for the separate collection of waste and labelling. The Action Plan also puts forward a series of actions to minimise EU exports of waste and tackle illegal shipments.
In a recent statement: ‘The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), the global federation of recycling industries, welcomes the EU’s support for recyclers as laid out in their new Circular Economy Action Plan. The action plan will benefit the European member companies of BIR, which are collecting, sorting and processing wastes in order to produce secondary raw materials. It will also benefit companies providing services to recyclers as well as recycling machinery and equipment manufacturers’.
The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) also welcomes the publication of the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) by the European Commission. Emmanuel Katrakis, Secretary-General of the Confederation said:
“EuRIC has continuously stressed the need to pull the demand for recycled materials and internalise their environmental benefits so as to boost the transition towards a circular economy.”
“The priority given to circular design that increases recycled content in products with emphasis on plastics in packaging, vehicles and construction materials acknowledges the importance of steering markets towards more circularity.”
To read the Circular Economy Action Plan go to www.ec.europa.eu