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The Knowledge-Sharing Platform

03 Dec 2015

EC presents Circular Economy Package

On 2 December 2015, the European Commission (EC) adopted a new Circular Economy Package to stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy where resources are used in a more sustainable way. This is expected to boost the EU's global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.

According to the EC, the proposed actions will contribute to "closing the loop" of product life cycles through greater recycling and re-use, and bring benefits for both the environment and the economy. The plans will extract the maximum value and use from all raw materials, products and waste, fostering energy savings and reducing Green House Gas emissions. The proposals cover the full lifecycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials. This transition will be supported financially by ESIF funding, €650 million from Horizon 2020, €5.5 billion from structural funds for waste management, and investments in the circular economy at national level.

The key actions adopted in the package or to be carried out under the current Commission's mandate include:

  • Funding of over €650 million under Horizon 2020 and €5.5 billion under the structural funds;
  • Actions to reduce food waste including 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.

The Communication on the circular economy also includes a clear timeline for the actions proposed and a plan for a monitoring framework for the circular economy. The Commission is now calling on the European Parliament and Council to build on this important preparatory work and prioritise adoption and implementation of today's legislative proposals.

The Package was presented to the plenary of the European Parliament (EP) on 2 December 2015 by First Vice-President Timmermans and Vice-President Katainen. It was cautiously welcomed by MEPs. However, they argued that the proposed EU targets on waste recycling, reducing food waste and landfill aim too low, with recycling rates of 65% of municipal waste and 75% of packaging waste by 2030. The Commission also proposes to reduce landfill’s share to a maximum of 10% of all waste by 2030.

For more information:

Communication: Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy

Annex to Communication on Circular Economy

EC - press release

EP - press release

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