EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Following the scrapping of the original Circular Economy Package in 2014, a new EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy has finally been adopted.  The objective of the action plan is to transition European countries to a more ’circular economy’ where resources are used more sustainably.  The aim is to develop a more ‘closed-loop’ use of material use with a greater emphasis on the re-use and recycling of materials, whilst extracting the maximum value from all raw materials, by-products and wastes.

The purpose of the action plan was not to just focus on the ‘end-of-life’ of materials but to consider their whole life-cycle of goods and services by promoting the reparability, upgradability, durability and recyclability of products via the development of an Ecodesign Directive.

To help extract the maximum use from resources the plan places more stringent recycling targets on EU member states, it also looks to stimulating the market for secondary raw materials.  This market will be encouraged through the development of more ‘quality standards’ for recycled materials to help remove market barriers for key materials such as plastics and biomass.

The package of measures sets EU binding measures via revised legislative proposals to achieve the following:

  • A common EU target for recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2030;
  • A common EU target for recycling 75% of packaging waste by 2030;
  • A binding landfill target to reduce landfill to maximum of 10% of all waste by 2030;
  • A ban on landfilling of separately collected waste;
  • Promotion of economic instruments to discourage landfilling ;
  • Simplified and improved definitions and harmonised calculation methods for recycling rates throughout the EU;
  • Concrete measures to promote re-use and stimulate industrial symbiosis - turning one industry's by-product into another industry's raw material;
  • Economic incentives for producers to put greener products on the market and support recovery and recycling schemes (e.g. for packaging, batteries, electric and electronic equipment, vehicles).

These targets will set through the following legislative proposals that have been adopted:

  • Proposed Directive on Waste
  • Annex to proposed Directive on Waste
  • Proposed Directive on Packaging Waste
  • Annex to proposed Directive on Packaging Waste
  • Proposed Directive on Landfill
  • Proposed Directive on electrical and electronic waste, on end-of-life vehicles, and batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators
  • Analytical note on waste management targets
  • Staff Working Document - Implementation Plan

The full EU Action plan for the circular Economy document can be accessed here:

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