Circular economy consultation out tomorrow

The European Commission (EC) will launch a public consultation on its revised Circular Economy Package tomorrow, Dr Colin Church, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) Director for Resource, Atmosphere & Sustainability, announced today (27 May).

Taking to Twitter this morning, Church said:


Although details of the revised package have not yet been released, the EC published an ‘indicative roadmap’ for its upcoming revised ‘Circular Economy Strategy’ earlier this month.

The strategy aims to deliver ‘a clear and ambitious political vision combined with effective policy tools’ that will ‘drive real change’.

New package to move away from ‘exclusive focus on waste management’

Although the roadmap, which seeks to replace the original proposal with a ‘broader and more ambitious approach’, does not outline specific details of how the revised package will work (and warns that it is ‘subject to change’), it suggests that barriers such as market failure must be addressed for a European circular economy to progress.

According to the EC, the previous approach had a ‘rather exclusive focus on waste management, without appropriately exploring synergies with other policies’, such as ‘product policies or the development of well-functioning markets for secondary raw materials’.

The EC also states that the new package will examine how to make waste proposals ‘more country specific’ (potentially through country-specific targets), and ‘how to improve the implementation of waste policy on the ground’. It adds it will also aim to decrease residual waste while increasing the use of secondary raw materials in the EU economy.

Therefore, the new initiative will ‘establish a framework to overcome shortcomings and create conditions for the development of a circular economy’.

It states that the action plan could therefore include proposals to intervene on the following areas:

  • materials production and use
  • product design;
  • distribution and consumption;
  • public procurement;
  • labelling and product information;
  • waste management;
  • development of markets for secondary raw materials (e.g. organic fertilisers);
  • improving framework conditions in priority sectors such as sustainable chemical production, bio-economy, extraction of secondary raw materials, food, construction, plastics, critical raw materials (including phosphorus), and water use;
  • repair and reuse; and
  • illegal flows of waste, including hazardous waste.

The roadmap states that ‘an appropriate stakeholder consultation will be carried out in the preparation for the new initiative, including an online consultation and a stakeholder meeting’. The EC’s Director-General for Environment, Karl Falkenberg, said last month that these consultations will take place ‘before summer’, and Defra’s Colin Church has now revealed that it will begin tomorrow.

Find out more about the Circular Economy Package.

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