New Circular Economy Action Plan paves way to a carbon neutral, competitive economy of empowered consumers

The European Commission adopted a new Circular Economy Action Plan – one of the main building blocks of the European Green Deal, Europe’s new agenda for sustainable growth, on 11 March. With measures targeting product value chains comprehensively and building on the work done since 2015, the new plan focuses on the design and production for a circular economy, with the aim of ensuring that resources remain in the EU economy for as long as possible.

Published under the umbrella of the EU Industrial Strategy, the Circular Economy Action Plan proposes measures to design waste out of the economy by transforming it into high-quality secondary resources that are fed back into the production process. To that end, the Commission will explore setting an EU-wide, harmonised model for the separate collection of waste. The plan also puts forward a series of proposals to minimise waste exports from the EU and tackle illegal shipments.

In the coming months and years, a series of measures is expected to stem from the plan. Most notably, measures concerning sustainable products, the right to repair, and the sectors that use the most resources and where the potential for circularity is high (e.g. electronics and ICT, batteries and vehicles, packaging, plastics, textiles, construction and buildings, and food) are slated for adoption in the near future.