The circular economy package
The European Commission adopted the Communication "Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe" and annex to establish a common and coherent EU framework to promote the circular economy. Turning Europe into a more circular economy means:
As part of the circular economy package, the Commission also adopted a legislative proposal to review recycling and other waste-related targets in the EU and annex. Achieving the new waste targets would create 180 000 new jobs, while making Europe more competitive and reducing demand for costly scarce resources. The proposal aims to:
What is a circular economy?
Since the industrial revolution, waste has constantly grown. This is because our economies have used a “take-make-consume and dispose” pattern of growth – a linear model which assumes that resources are abundant, available and cheap to dispose of.
What we need is a more circular economy. This means re-using, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products. What used to be regarded as ‘waste’ can be turned into a resource. All resources need to be managed more efficiently throughout their life cycle.
Using resources more efficiently will also bring new growth and job opportunities. Better eco-design, waste prevention and reuse can bring net savings for EU businesses of up to EUR 600 billion, while also reducing total annual greenhouse gas emissions. Additional measures to increase resource productivity by 30% by 2030 could boost GDP by nearly 1%, while creating 2 million additional jobs.
Moving towards a circular economy is at the heart of the resource efficiency agenda established under the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The main ideas on how to do more with less are being taken further in the EU's Environment Action Programme to 2020.
The European Commission's 'Generation Awake' campaign on resource-efficiency focuses on what each one of us can do in our daily life to save water, energy and other natural resources, and turn waste into a resource.
Circular economy, saving resources and creating jobs are the main themes of Green Week 2014, the biggest annual conference on European environment policy.