The EU Circular Economy Action Plan was today rubber stamped by the European Commission. A key element of the European Green Deal, it is designed to usher in a new era of sustainable growth. Prioritising the design and production elements of developing a circular economy, the plan will focus on keeping resources working within the EU for the longest period possible.
We only have one Planet Earth, and yet by 2050 we will be consuming as if we had three.
“This will make circularity the mainstream in our lives and speed up the green transition of our economy,” said Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. “We offer decisive action to change the top of the sustainability chain – product design. Future-oriented actions will create business and job growth, give new rights to European consumers, harness innovation and digitalisation and, just like nature, make sure that nothing is wasted.”
With more people moving to live in cities urban strategies will be central to the success of the continent’s circular ambitions. The work of ICLEI – local governments for sustainability, is already helping local and regional governments in the network transition to a circular economy. It is fast-tracking a wide array of projects and initiatives to tackle issues of production, consumption and waste prevention from multiple perspectives, and topic areas – from plastics to bio-waste. Read more on how ICLEI is helping cities move from linear to circular solutions; and on two projects currently addressing these issues.
“To achieve climate-neutrality by 2050, to preserve our natural environment, and to strengthen our economic competitiveness, requires a fully circular economy,” said Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal. “Today, our economy is still mostly linear, with only 12% of secondary materials and resources being brought back into the economy. Many products break down too easily, cannot be reused, repaired or recycled, or are made for single use only. There is a huge potential to be exploited both for businesses and consumers. With today’s plan we launch action to transform the way products are made and empower consumers to make sustainable choices for their own benefit and that of the environment.”
Regulations will be streamlined to facilitate the roll out of an impactful and pan-European circular economy, along with tax incentive schemes aimed at inspiring new circular breakthroughs.