Topic 2 The EU Circular Economy Action Plan

Current: The rapid shift of the European Union (EU) with it’s 2050 climate neutrality goal under the Green Deal, the European Commission proposed in March 2022 the initial measures to speed up transition towards a circular economy (CE), as introduced in the Circular Economy Action Plan. The proposals of the EC include emerging sustainable products, empowerment of consumers for the green transition, the assessment of the construction product regulation, together with the strategy on sustainable textiles (2).

Short history: The Action Plan (2015) aimed to stimulate Europe’s transition towards a circular economy to boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs. In March 2019 the European Commission reported on the delivery and progress of key initiatives of its 2015 Action Plan in the Report on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan. Three years after adoption, the Circular Economy Action Plan is fully completed. Its 54 actions have been delivered, even if the work on some of them continues beyond 2019.

Finally: The European Parliament called for tighter recycling rules and binding 2030 targets for materials use and consumption in the resolution adopted in 2021.

Video: Circular Economy… it’s the way forward

Circular economy trends and innovations often defined as an economic system which replaces a linear model of the economy into a circular one. It also develops and implements policies that reinforce the “reduce, reuse and recycle” – the  3R‘s of CE model.

In recent years the concept of Circular Economy has received growing attention, both in the worlds of science and of policy making. The 3R’s concept has become commonplace in many national waste regulations all over the world. CE evolves scientifically and in practice, therefore new R’s are being integrated in the CE conceptual framework firstly 6R and currently 9R and evolving conceptual and practical frameworks (6).

R1 – Reduce

R2 – Resell, Reuse

R3 – Repair

R4 – Refurbish

R5 – Remanufacture

R6 – Re-purpose

R7 – Recycle materials

R8 – Recover energy

R9 – Re-mine

Video: Moving towards a circular economy