Circular Economy Package Must Focus On “Demand-Side Measures”

A number of the UK’s leading representative bodies for the waste and resource management sector have sent a joint letter to the European Commission to reinforce the need for effective “pull” or demand-side mechanisms in the forthcoming EU Circular Economy package. 

According to recent leaks, the package is already likely to contain stronger drivers to “push” waste out of landfill and up the waste hierarchy, including higher recycling and landfill diversion targets.

“We all share the ambition for a more circular economy, but we do not see the delivery of a circular economy coming purely from the operation of the market”

However, the letter echoes the views expressed recently by FEAD that these need to be matched by measures to stimulate stronger and more stable market demand for recycled materials.

The letter, sent to the Commission’s First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, and Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella, says:

“Supply side actions have served us well in many respects to date, but they will be insufficient for the challenges ahead.

“We all share the ambition for a more circular economy, but we do not see the delivery of a circular economy coming purely from the operation of the market.”

“While acknowledging that the Commission is looking for ‘lighter touch’ regulation, the letter adds that this agenda should be seen as an exception to the Commission’s general rule, because to deliver the strong environmental and economic benefits of a circular economy requires a long term regulatory framework and market interventions that will stabilise and enhance the viability of increasing recycling”.

The letter is sent jointly from the Resource Association, the Renewable Energy Association, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Environmental Services Association, the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association and CIWM.

A copy of the joint letter is published today alongside this statement and can be found here

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