The European Commission has opened a public consultation to collect views on the main policy options for developing what it’s calling an “ambitious new approach on the circular economy”.
Stakeholders’ input will help feed the preparation of the new action plan, to be presented by the end of 2015.
The policy options for developing a competitive circular economy in Europe will look at waste policy and beyond and address the full product lifecycle, taking into account the situation in all member states.
It will include actions on “intelligent product design”, reuse and repair of products, recycling, sustainable consumption, waste policy, recycling levels, smart use of raw materials, stronger markets for secondary raw materials and specific sectorial measures.
The Commission says want to set the conditions for the creation of more jobs without using and wasting the amount of resources we do today. This will contribute to a stronger and fairer Europe and decrease pressures on the supply of raw materials and the environment.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans – “Europe’s future economic development must be part of a sustainable development. There is no alternative to using our resources more intelligently, designing our products with a view to their re-use and recycling, and setting ambitious targets for waste reduction and recycling”
Much has been said and written about the proposals, which date back to last summer when first introduced by the then Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik. The plans included the adoption of a 70 percent recycling target for municipal waste and had specific marine and food waste targets.
The plans were subsequently axed at the end of 2014, with promises of more ambitious plans to be introduced before the end of 2015, only for several of the original plans, such as the high recycling targets, to be retained after announcements from Vella in April.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “Europe’s future economic development must be part of a sustainable development. There is no alternative to using our resources more intelligently, designing our products with a view to their re-use and recycling, and setting ambitious targets for waste reduction and recycling.
“Today we are asking people across Europe for their input on how to design our policies in a way that stimulates a competitive green economy in Europe and protects the environment for future generations.”
Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said: “Moving towards a more sustainable circular economy can create win-win solutions and provide Europe with a new competitive advantage. We want to put forward a comprehensive action plan with incentives for both consumers and businesses to use resources more efficiently. For this we need input from stakeholders in all parts of the value chains.”
Citizens, public authorities, businesses and all other interested governmental and non-governmental parties are invited to answer questions on the various parts of the economic cycle and their role in the transition to a circular economy.
A separate public consultation on waste market distortions is already ongoing and open to all interested stakeholders.
The consultation will run until 20 August 2015.