05 Jun 2014

World Environment Day - JRC expertise on circular economy

Life cycle schema
The life-cycle approach looks at the entire lifespan of a product, form raw material to production, retail and disposal.
© EU, 2014

Following the slogan of today's World Environment Day – Raise your voice not the sea level – the JRC has presented its activities on circular economy at the Green Week, the biggest annual conference on European environment policy which ends today.

This year's Green Week theme is Circular Economy, Resource Efficiency & Waste. It reflects the need to re-use, re-manufacture and recycle goods in a world which is ever more resource-constrained. The JRC is active in several fronts in these areas: energy efficiency, renewable energy, natural resources protection and sustainable economy.

The JRC is in charge of technical studies that pave the way to establishing of end-of-waste criteria. If requirements are met, these regulations allow that specific materials can be afterwards re-used as raw materials. End-of waste regulations are already in force on scrap metal, glass cullet and copper scrap. In addition to ex-ante work, the JRC also manages the policy implementation process for Ecolabel criteria, green public procurement, ecodesign and energy labelling.

To prevent pollution of water, air and soil from approximately 50 000 industrial installations in the EU, JRC produces Best Available Techniques (BATs) for sustainable production. Following an exchange of knowledge between industry, governments and research bodies, the JRC produces reference documents which compile technically and economically viable measures to improve the environmental performance of industry.

Other JRC activities include research and guidance to carry out Life-Cycle-Assessment of goods, which aim at improving product design and defining policies for the sustainable use of raw materials. Support to companies and organisations also includes guidance to best environmental management practices which tackle energy and resource efficiency, emissions and supply chain management. Cutting-edge environmental technologies are also being tested: JRC coordinates the technical group of a pilot programme to verify the added value and effectiveness of these technologies. The technical group is tasked with harmonisation of the verification procedure.

JRC Institutes