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EU introduces new circular economy package

December 3, 2015

EU CommissionNew incentives were launched for manufacturers to produce greener products, support recovery and recycling schemes for electronic equipment, and promote material re-use.

Member states will now need to recycle 75 percent of packaging waste and 65 percent of municipal waste by 2030, according to the European Commission. A report from think-tank Green Alliance recently estimated that the new package could save €3 billion ($3.1 billion) and reduce unemployment.

Previously, the EC reported it would be axing its plans, before reconsidering and revealing it would increase funding, launching a public consultation, to which both UKCRA and ETIRA contributed their views from remanufacturers. However, reports suggested it would dilute any circular economy package, and doubted their potential.

“The broad measures for changing the full product lifecycle go beyond a narrow focus on the end-of-life stage and underline the Commission’s clear ambition to transform the EU economy and deliver results,” the EC stated in its announcement. Landfill waste is to be reduced to a maximum of 10 percent by 2030, with landfilling of separately collected waste banned.

The changes will be funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), €650 million ($686 million) from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation fund and a further €5.5 billion ($5.8 billion) from structural funds for waste management, along with national-level investments.

Co-chairing the team that devised the package was Frans Timmersman, who said: “We need to retain precious resources and fully exploit all the economic value within them. The circular economy is about reducing waste and protecting the environment, but it is also about a profound transformation of the way our entire economy works.

“By rethinking the way we produce, work and buy we can generate new opportunities and create new jobs.”

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