In a press release published on March 4, 2019, the European Commission (EC) announced the release of a report on the implementation of its Circular Economy Action Plan that was adopted in 2015 (FPF reported). The implementation report “presents the main results of implementing the action plan and sketches out open challenges to paving the way towards a climate-neutral, competitive circular economy where pressure on natural and freshwater resources as well as ecosystems is minimized.” The press release is accompanied by the Questions & Answers summary along with several staff working documents.
According to the EC, the 2015 Circular Economy Action Plan “can be considered fully completed,” since all of the 54 actions outlined there “have now been delivered or are being implemented.” One of the most important deliveries is the EU Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, launched in January 2018 (FPF reported). It represents “the first EU-wide policy framework adopting a material-specific life cycle approach to integrate circular design, use, reuse and recycling activities into plastics value chains.” The publication of the plastics strategy has been followed by a “voluntary pledging campaign on recycled plastics” by industry (FPF reported), as well as by the adoption of the rules on single-use plastics (FPF reported). Further, a revised waste legislation has entered into force in July 2018 (FPF reported). An Eurostat report also released today shows that, according to its monitoring framework, the “recycling rate of plastic packaging has almost doubled since 2005.”
Boosting innovation and investments to support circular economy in general and circularity of plastics in particular is also essential to ensuring the successful transition from linear to circular economy. A new report on research and innovations for plastics in the circular economy, intended to provide background information to support policy and funding decisions, was also launched today (FPF reported).
Among the remaining challenges, the EC highlighted the need “to scale up action at EU level and globally,” in particular to ensure the proper implementation of the new waste legislation and to support the development of markets for recycled materials. Further, “the work started at EU level on some issues (like chemicals, the non-toxic environment, eco-labelling and eco-innovation, critical raw material and fertilizers) needs to be accelerated,” the EC said.
European Commission (March 4, 2019). “Closing the loop: Commission delivers on Circular Economy Action Plan.”
European Commission (March 4, 2019). “Circular Economy Package Report: Questions & answers.”
European Commission (March 4, 2019). “Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the document Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan.” (pdf)
European Commission (March 4, 2019). “Commission Staff Working Document – Sustainable Products in a Circular Economy – Towards an EU Product Policy Framework contributing to the Circular Economy.” (pdf)
Eurostat (March 4, 2019). “Record recycling rates and use of recycled materials in the EU.” (pdf)
Eurostat (2019). “Monitoring Framework. Circular economy indicators.”
European Commission (March 4, 2019). “Commission delivers on Circular Economy Action Plan.”
European Commission (December 2, 2015). “Closing the loop: Commission adopts ambitious new Circular Economy Package to boost competitiveness, create jobs and generate sustainable growth.”
EEB (March 5, 2019). “Reaction to the European Commission’s report on the Circular Economy.”
ECOS (March 13, 2019). “Evaluating the Circular Economy Action Plan: where does the EU really stand?” (pdf)
European Commission (March 4, 2019). “Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan.” (pdf)