The European Parliament today adopted a report on the circular economy. The report's central demands are for less waste, better product design, less dependence on imports of raw materials and more green job creation in the EU. Following the European Commission’s controversial withdrawal of its initial legislative proposal on the circular economy, this report calls on the Commission to draft a new, truly ambitious proposal. Commenting on the vote, Claude Turmes, Greens/EFA MEP and member of the Environment committee, said:
“Today's vote sends a clear message to the European Commission. MEPs have not forgotten Commissioner Timmermans’ promises and have set the bar high for the upcoming circular economy proposals. Today's vote showed wide support for a number of the Greens/EFA proposals and that the Parliament clearly wants to go further than the European Commission's previous proposal on circular economy.
The report calls for the EU to be producing fully sustainably by 2050 at the latest and for setting binding targets for reducing waste generation by 2025. From 2020 onwards, separate collection of biodegradable waste should be compulsory and the incineration of recyclable and compostable waste should end. The report also calls for, among others, a 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 circular economy should also strengthen consumers’ rights with the report calling for concrete measures to combat planned obsolescence. In addition, producers will in future be required to bear any repair costs falling within the entire duration of the warranty barring proof that the defect was caused by incorrect use. In addition, products’ durability, reusability and recyclability should be improved. And very importantly, toxic chemicals should be banned from the production line to facilitate recycling.
With these proposals combining environmental protection with innovation and job creation, the report points the way towards the paradigm shift in favour of a sustainable and innovative economic policy and the European Commission must seize the moment. The Commission’s own calculations show that an ambitious circular economy package could lead to approximately €600bn savings every year. This is five times more than the most optimistic forecasts for the financial benefits from the planned EU-US free trade agreement. At the same time, if the EU were to meet its resource efficiency target by 2030, EU GDP would increase by 1% and an extra two million jobs would be created. Commissioner Timmermans must keep his promise and deliver an ambitious package by the end of this year.”