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Moving towards a circular economy

European Commission will present an ambitious circular economy strategy in late 2015

The Commission is aiming to present a new, more ambitious circular economy strategy late in 2015, to transform Europe into a more competitive resource-efficient economy, addressing a range of economic sectors, including waste.

The proposal will be fully aligned with the priorities of the new Commission. The Commission is engaged in a thorough reflection on how the objective of circular economy can be reached in an efficient way that is fully compatible with the jobs and growth agenda.

The new strategy will include a new legislative proposal on waste targets, taking into account the input already given to us during public consultations, and by Council and in Parliament, in particular the comments made by many that the previous proposals needed to be more country-specific.

More information: Circular economy roadmap

As part of the process, the Commission has launched a public consultation on the subject from the 28th May until the 20th August 2015.

CLOSING THE LOOP - Circular Economy: boosting business, reducing wasteClosing the loop

On 25 June 2015 about 700 delegates participated in the Stakeholder Conference on Circular Economy. This all day event was dedicated to discussions on the sources of future economic growth where more products are made out of secondary raw materials, waste is considered a valuable resource, and where innovative business models retain physical goods longer and more efficiently in productive use. The Conference was opened by First Vice President Frans Timmermans speaking passionately in favor of the circular economy and followed by Commissioner Vella remarks on the environmental and economic benefits of the circular economy. Vice President Jyrki Katainen closed it stressing the three wins - environment, economic and social - deriving from the circular economy. The feedback received through 6 thematic split-up sessions will be used to shape the new and more ambitious Circular Economy Package for which DG ENV and DG GROW are co-responsible. The new package is expected to be adopted by the end of this year.


By 8:30 the GASP Room was full

FVP Frans Timmermans giving an opening speech

Commissioner Vella illustrating the environmental dimension of circular economy

Keynote speaker Ellen Mac Arthur giving interview for Europe by Satellite

Martin Stuchtey, from McKinsey & Company building a business case for circular economy

A representative panel of stakeholders: large businesses, SMEs and NGOs share views on the circular economy

VP Jyrki Katainen giving closing remarks


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. The aim is to look beyond waste and to close the loop of the circular economy. 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.


Previous proposal on circular economy:


More information: