What Is the Europe Circular Economy Action Plan?
The world at large and continent Europe faces a huge challenge-“climate change and degradation. It is pathetic since the causes of this problem are man-made and can be curtailed if we push at it. Causes of climate change include the burning of fossil fuels and other industrial activities that give off harmful gases, liquids, and solids to the environment. To reach climate neutrality and reduce the negative effect of human activities on the climate and environment, the European Commission unveiled a circular economy action plan.
The Europe circular economy action plan is a part of the Green Deal strategy that aims at reaching climate neutrality by the year 2050. This new agenda targets sustainable growth by introducing legislative and non-legislative measures, for a cleaner, healthier, and more conducive Europe, especially at target areas in the European Union where actions bring about added value.
Themes of the Circular Action Plan
The circular action plan unveils the following measures:
- The production of sustainable products. These products will be long-lasting, easy to repair, recycle and reuse. Consequently, a ban/restriction is placed on single-use products and as much as possible, replaced with recyclable materials.
- Consumers and public buyers are empowered with the information they need to make the right and precise choices. This information will particularly include the lifespan of products and materials at the point of sale.
- Ensuring that wastes are reduced to the minimum is another measure that the circular economy plan seeks to take. This will be achieved by transforming wastes into secondary products of high value and quality.
- Furthermore, more attention will be directed to sectors of the economy that makes use of more resources and which will be great for circularity. These sectors include electronics, ICT, plastics, textiles, construction, food, and building.
Europe’s Circular Economy Action Plan
According to the Circular Economy action plan, there are 35 action points upon which the entire initiative stands. They are the following.
- The legislative proposal for a sustainable product policy initiative. It is slated for the year 2021.
- The legislative proposal empowering consumers in the green transition.
- The legislative and non-legislative measures enabling a new right to repair.
- The legislative proposal on substantiating green claims.
- Mandatory green public procurement (GPP) criteria and targets in sector legislation and phasing in mandatory reporting on GPP.
- Review of the industrial emissions directive, including the integration of circular economy practices in the upcoming best available techniques reference document.
- Launch of an industry-led symbiosis reporting and certification system.
- Circular Electronics Initiative, common charger solution, and reward systems to return old devices.
- Review of the directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment and guidance to clarify its links with REACH and Eco-design requirements.
- Proposal for a new regulatory framework for batteries.
- Review of the rules on end-of-life vehicles.
- Review of the rules on the proper treatment of waste oils.
- Review to reinforce the essential requirements for packaging and reduce (over) packaging and packaging waste.
- Mandatory requirements on recycled plastic content and plastic waste reduction measures for key products such as packaging, construction materials, and vehicles.
- Restrictions on intentionally added microplastics and measures aimed at the unintentional release of microplastics.
- Policy framework for bio-based plastics and biodegradable or compostable plastics.
- EU Strategy for Textiles.
- Strategy for a Sustainable Built Environment.
- Initiative to substitute single-use packaging, tableware, and cutlery with reusable products in food services.
- Waste reduction targets for specific streams and other waste prevention measures.
- EU-wide harmonized model for separate collection of waste and labeling to facilitate separate collection.
- Methodologies to track and minimize the presence of substances of concern in recycled materials and articles made thereof.
- Harmonized information systems for the presence of substances of concern.
- Scoping the development of further EU-wide end-of-waste and by-product criteria.
- Revision of the rules on waste shipments.
- Supporting the circular economy transition through the Skills Agenda, the forthcoming Action Plan for Social Economy, the Pact for Skills, and the European Social Fund Plus.
- Supporting the circular economy transition through cohesion policy funds, the Just Transition Mechanism, and urban initiatives.
- Improving measurement, modeling, and policy tools to capture synergies between the circular economy and climate change mitigation and adaptation at EU and national levels.
- Regulatory framework for the certification of carbon removal.
- Reflecting circular economy objectives in the revision of the guidelines on state aid in the field of environment and energy.
- Mainstreaming circular economy objectives in the context of the rules on non-financial reporting and sustainable corporate governance and environmental accounting initiatives.
- Leading efforts to reach a global agreement on plastics.
- Proposing a Global Circular Economy Alliance and initiating discussions on an international agreement on the management of natural resources.
- Mainstreaming circular economy objectives in free trade agreements, in other bilateral, regional, and multilateral processes and agreements, and EU external policy funding instruments.
- Updating the Circular Economy Monitoring Framework to reflect new policy priorities and develop further indicators on resource use, including consumption and material footprints.
Tentative result and merits
On the way to achieving a circular economy, there are a lot of merits. A few of them are:
- While working to create a circular economy, business opportunities will be created, to the end of creating a standard framework for the making of sustainable products. In research, it was noted that applying the circular economy across the EU economy, there is the potential of an additional 0.5% in the Union’s GPA which will result in about 700,000 more job opportunities.
- Also, the circular economy can foster business creation, growth, and entrepreneurship among SMEs.
- In the same vein, the circular economy action plan will create long-lasting goods and products which are efficient, safe, affordable, high quality, and easy to reuse, repair, and recycle. So much value is provided at a relatively cheap amount.
- Furthermore, the action plan intends to make and implement policies that will regulate services and business models to change the production and consumption patterns so that no waste is incurred.
- To add to that, wastes will be reduced to minimal through a transformation process which will convert wastes into secondary products.
- Most importantly, this action plan is to accelerate and increase the pace of our transition into the circular economy, as much as this choice is necessary and a must do, it must be according to time.
Conclusively, the European circular economy action plan alters the design and production to tend towards the circular economy, where there is less waste, more value, and a safer world.
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