European Commission publishes new Circular Economy Package

2 December, Brussels – The European Commission has today adopted its new Circular Economy Package, which aims to stimulate Europe’s transition towards a Circular Economy, to boost competitiveness, support sustainable economic growth and create new jobs in Europe.

The Commission’s proposals aim to provide support throughout the life-cycle of products, from production and consumption, through to waste management, recycling, re-use and the development of markets for secondary raw materials.

Finance for Circular Economy activities is provided through the European Structural and Investment Funds – primarily the European Regional Development Fund (€5.5 billion) – as well as €650 million which is being made available through Horizon 2020.

The package introduces a number of actions that the Commission intends to pursue, and a timeline for their implementation. Over the course of its mandate, the Commission intends to support:

  • Actions to reduce food waste including the development of a common measurement methodology, improved date marking, and tools to meet the global Sustainable Development Goal to halve food waste by 2030;
  • Development of quality standards for secondary raw materials to increase the confidence of operators in the single market;
  • Measures in the Ecodesign working plan for 2015-2017 to promote reparability, durability and recyclability of products, in addition to energy efficiency;
  • A revised Regulation on fertilisers, to facilitate the recognition of organic and waste-based fertilisers in the single market and support the role of bio-nutrients;
  • A 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.

Included in the package are revised proposals for Directives on Waste, Packaging Waste, Landfill and Electronic Waste, which suggest that the EU should aim for targets of 65% of municipal waste and 75% of packaging waste to be recycled, and that a binding target be introduced to reduce landfilling to a maximum of 10% of all waste by 2030.

Click to read the Communication, ‘Closing the Loop – An EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy’.

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