The EC adopted the new ‘Circular Economy Action Plan’, which includes revised legislative proposals on waste, with the aim of stimulating Europe’s transition to a circular economy. The Action Plan covers the whole cycle – from production and consumption to waste management and the secondary raw materials market, and is expected to boost global competitiveness, promote sustainable economic growth and create new jobs.
The Circular Economy Action Plan complements the European Green Deal, presented on 11 December 2019, which sets out a roadmap for a climate-neutral circular economy with economic growth decoupled from resource use. As an example, the circular economy is expected to deliver net benefits in terms of GDP growth and job creation, with a potential increase in EU GDP of an additional 0.5% by 2030, and to create some 700,000 new jobs.
The new Action Plan introduces legislative and non-legislative measures targeting areas where action at EU level brings real added value: By focusing on the sectors, which use the most resources and where the potential for circularity is high, the EC will launch concrete actions on:
- Construction and buildings: A comprehensive strategy for a sustainable built environment;
- Batteries and vehicles: A new regulatory framework for batteries to improve durability and boost the circular potential of batteries;
- Electronics and ICTs: A “circular e-initiative” to extend product life and improve waste collection and treatment;
- Packaging and plastics: New mandatory requirements on what is allowed on the EU market and a special focus on microplastics as well as bio- and biodegradable plastics;
- Textiles: A new EU textiles strategy to strengthen competitiveness and innovation in the sector and boost the European market for textile re-use; and
- Food: A new legislative initiative on re-use to replace single-use packaging, crockery and cutlery with reusable products in food services.
In terms of energy, the EC will launch a new comprehensive strategy for a sustainable built environment, with the aim of ensuring coherence between relevant policy areas such as climate, energy and resource efficiency, management of construction and demolition waste, etc. In addition, the “Renovation Wave” initiative should lead to significant economies of scale.
In conclusion, building on the work since 2015, the new plan focuses on the design and development of a circular economy, with the aim of ensuring that the resources used are conserved in the EU economy for as long as possible. The plan and the initiatives it outlines will be developed with the close involvement of business and stakeholders.