On the 11th of March 2020 The European Commission presented a new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP). The EC recognises CEAP as a new development paradigm. According to the Commission’s opinion, the implementation of the CEAP could increase the EU’s GDP by an additional 0.5% by 2030, and create around 700,000 new jobs.
The EC reiterated that without CEAP it would not be possible for the EU to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, protect our environment, and strengthen our economic competitiveness. The Commission also stated that the European economy was still linear to a large extent. Only 12% of the materials are recycled and circled back to the economy. Stricter waste and recycling legislation is therefore expected to become a key issue for the CEAP and the new objectives are to be presented as part of a wider revision of the EU waste legislation. However, the new objectives will only be presented after a full cost-benefit analysis.
The presented Plan does not yet contain hard regulations, but indicates future measures to be taken, in order to reduce waste in areas, which so far have not been covered by the CEAP, within the European Union, including the construction sector, for example. The EC announces the introduction of The Strategy for a Sustainable Construction Environment. It will aim at promoting closed-circuit principles throughout the life cycle of buildings. This will include the introduction of a number of ecological criteria for public procurement in the construction industry.
CEAP will announce a revision of the EU waste legislation, aimed at halving the amount of municipal waste by 2030, including new targets for reducing packaging waste, and the introduction of mandatory essential requirements for all packaging placed on the market. The EC’s objective is to make all packaging placed on the EU market re-usable or recyclable, in an economically viable way, by 2030.
The Plan also discusses the mandatory requirements for the use of recycled plastics, in such areas as the packaging sector and construction materials. There will be restrictions on the deliberate addition of microplastics.
A new EU-wide objective to reduce food waste will beadopted, as part of the EU’s “Farm to Fork” Strategy, which will be published at the end of March this year.
The Plan also provides for the updating of existing resource use indicators to reflect the links between their circularity, climate neutrality, and the ambition of achieving zero pollution.