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European Commission produces circular economy roadmap

May 8, 2015

EU CommissionThe Commission (EC) published the “indicative roadmap”, which will set out its plans for the circular economy after the previous plans were dropped.

Resource reported on the roadmap for its revised circular economy plans, after the EC revealed in January this year that it would ditch its circular economy package despite objections from EU Parliament and environment ministers; with EU sources stating that “the final decision has been taken and nothing could be foreseen that would change the executive’s mind at this stage”.

However, the Commission has “promis[ed] a better and even more environmentally-friendly alternative proposal” later this year, and the roadmap aims to deliver “a clear and ambitious political vision combined with effective policy tools [to] drive real change”. The new document is said by the EC to have a “broader and more ambitious approach” than the first, but Resource noted it “does not outline specific details of how the revised package will work”.

Barriers to the circular economy, the document notes, include “market failure”, which “must be addressed for a European circular economy to progress”. The prior document, it added, had a “rather exclusive focus on waste management, without appropriately exploring synergies with other policies”, and the new plans “should examine how to make waste proposals more country specific”.

A framework is planned to “overcome shortcomings and create conditions for the development of a circular economy”, with the EC to work on a “revised proposal on the waste review” as well as a communication “explaining the rationale behind the approach”. This would be accompanied by an “action plan” and “precise deadlines”, which could potentially include proposals “to intervene” on a number of important areas”.

These notably consist of “materials production and use”, “product design”, “public procurement”, “labelling and product information”, and “repair and reuse” – all of which would be relevant to cartridge remanufacturing. Consultation will take place “before summer”, according to Karl Falkenberg, the EC’s Director-General for Environment.

Oakdene Hollins, which operates the Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse, discussed the policies and changes it would like the EU to consider, as did industry association ETIRA, which revealed that it is “doing informal lobbying to promote reuse” with the commission. The association argues that “reuse should receive a higher priority than it has today” and that existing “eco-friendly policies are often merely a piece of paper: they fail to deliver a tangible increase in the reuse of products”.

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