The European Parliament’s Environment committee today adopted a report on the circular economy. The European Commission’s withdrawal of its initial legislative proposal on the circular economy drew heavy criticism from the European Parliament, EU Environment ministers and civil society. This report calls on the European Commission to draft a new, ambitious proposal. Claude Turmes, Greens/EFA MEP and member of the Environment committee, said:
“Today’s vote sends a strong signal to the Juncker Commission. The report was supported by a strong, cross-party coalition and calls for an ambitious proposal on the circular economy by the end of the year. MEPs have not forgotten Commissioner Timmermans’ promises and have set the bar high for the future circular economy proposals.
The report calls for, among others, the introduction of a binding resource-efficiency target based on reducing resource use by 30% by 2030, compared to 2014, along with a binding food waste reduction target of 30%. The EU should be producing fully sustainably by 2050 at the latest.
The report also demands tangible measures to combat planned obsolescence and to improve consumer protection around production defects. Products’ durability, reusability and recyclability should also be improved and toxic chemicals should be banned from the production line. This will encourage the development of non-polluting production loops.
The Environment committee’s report calls for significant improvements compared to the European Commission’s now withdrawn proposals. While the European Commission made no proposals on binding reduction targets, this report demands binding targets for reducing waste generation by 2025. Similarly, burning recycleable or compostable waste should end and the separate collection of biodegradable waste should be mandatory, by 2020 at the latest.
These are crucial improvements that will not only benefit the environment but will also bring huge added value in terms of innovation, the economy and job creation. The Commission’s own calculations show that an ambitious circular economy package could lead to the creation of over half a million new jobs in the EU, approximately €600bn savings through more efficient use of resources and a 2-4% decrease in CO2 emissions. The Commission cannot afford to ignore this clear signal from the European Parliament and should seize this opportunity by shifting to future-proof, sustainable economic policies.”