EU unveils new €6bn circular economy package

Circular Economy #circulareconomyThe European Commission has launched it’s circular economy package and measures to promote reparability in the design phase of products.

The aim of circular economy is to “close the loop of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use, and bring benefits for both the environment and the economy”.

The circular economy package will receive €5.5bn from the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) and €650 million from Horizon 2020 (the EU funding programme for research and innovation).

So What is it?

  • A common EU target for recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2030.
  • A binding target to reduce landfill to maximum of 10% of all waste by 2030.

No specific targets for food waste reduction are included in the package.

  • The package proposes several measures to reduce food waste, including the creation of common measurement methodology, improved date marking, and ‘tools’ to meet the global Sustainable Development Goal to halve food waste by 2030.
  • It also calls for measures to facilitate the redistribution of safe, edible food to people in need and, the use of foodwaste as a resource for animal feed.

The package calls for new measures that will promote reparability, durability and recyclability to be built into products from the outset.  Specifically these measures will be built into the Ecodesign Directive which currently tries to improve the energy efficiency of consumer goods.

The package introduces a variety of market mechanisms designed to encourage ‘circular’ behaviour, including:

  • Economic instruments to discourage landfilling
  • Incentives for producers to put greener products on the market and support recovery schemes

Other non-specific measures which are proposed in the circular economy package include:

  • Support for higher uptake of green public procurement.
  • The development of quality standards for secondary raw materials to increase the confidence of operators in the single market.
  • A new strategy on plastics in the circular economy, addressing issues of recyclability, biodegradability, the presence of hazardous substances in plastics, and the Sustainable Development Goals target for significantly reducing marine litter.
  • A series of actions on water reuse including a legislative proposal on minimum requirements for the reuse of wastewater.
  • Concrete measures to promote re-use and stimulate industrial symbiosis â€“turning one industry’s by-product into another industry’s raw material.

As well as the aforementioned waste savings and resource benfits, the EC expects the proposals to generate thousands of new jobs.

The draft legislation will now be debated and amended by MEPs and ministers in the EU Council.

Circular Economy Package

Timeline for the Circular Economy Action Plan