4 December 2015

Get ready to hear a lot more about the Circular Economy as the EU has just adopted a package of measures under that title which will, it argues, boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.

Presenting the new measures, the European Commission has called on the Member States to use resources in a smarter, more sustainable way.

"We cannot build our future on a 'take–make–dispose' model," it explained. "In a circular economy the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible; waste and resource use are minimised; and resources are kept within the economy when a product has reached the end of its life, to be used again and again to create further value."

The Commission is supporting the move to a Circular Economy with over €650 million from the EU's research and development (R&D) fund, Horizon 2020, and €5.5 billion from the Structural Funds which support projects in the Member States.

The measures to be introduced include:

  • actions to reduce food waste including improved date marking

  • the development of quality standards for secondary raw materials

  • improvements in the Ecodesign working plan for 2015/17 to promote reparability, durability and recyclability of products, in addition to energy efficiency

  • a strategy on plastics, addressing issues of recyclability, biodegradability and the presence of hazardous substances in plastics

  • a series of actions on water reuse

  • 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.

In addition, to be introduced by 2030, common EU targets will be put in place for recycling 65% of municipal waste, 75% of packaging waste and reducing landfill to a maximum of 10% of all waste.

A factsheet entitled "Closing the loop: An ambitious EU Circular Economy package" can be found here.