Last reviewed 3 August 2020

The UK will legislate to implement the majority of the EU Circular Economy Package (CEP) without formal consultation, the Government confirms.

A statement issued jointly by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), and the Welsh Government argues that most of the themes and provisions covered within the CEP already apply across the UK and will remain in place.

The Circular Economy Package (CEP) is one of the main blocks of the European Green Deal for sustainable growth and introduces a revised legislative framework to reduce waste, and establish credible long-term commitments for waste management and recycling.

Research published by Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in June, shows a circular economy has the potential to bolster the economy by £75 billion and create half a million jobs.

Defra’s Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said the European package builds on the government’s landmark  Resources and Waste Strategy, and emphasised the UK’s commitment to a circular economy including reducing waste arisings, reusing and recycling waste materials and minimising waste sent to landfill.

“Through our landmark Environment Bill we will be bringing forward a raft of measures to do just that, and this new Circular Economy Package takes us yet another step forward to transforming our waste industry,” Pow wrote.

The decision to adopt the EU’s CEP has been welcomed by the waste industry. Dr Simon Ellin, Chief Executive of the UK’s Recycling Association, told letsrecycle; “We were advocates of the ambitious European CEP originally, so wholly welcome its adoption by the UK – it signals the governments ambitions for our industry which is encouraging.

“The challenge is going to be delivering it in a post-Covid, post-Brexit UK. The glaring hole in the UK’s recycling ambitions is the lack of UK processing capacity for some materials, notably paper and plastics.”

The Welsh and Scottish Governments have already laid out their circular economy (CE) targets. Defra said the package would come into law later this year, with plans to lay legislation in the autumn to transpose relevant regulations into UK law.