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European Commission announces circular economy funding

BRUSSELS: December 02, 2015. The European Commission (EC) has published its revised proposals to encourage EU Member States to adopt a circular economy which it claims will save companies €600 billion, create 580,000 jobs, and reduce carbon emissions by 450 million tonnes a year.

The proposals cover the 'cradle-to-cradle' lifecycle from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials. The goal is to extract the maximum value and use from all raw materials, products and waste.

The EC said it will make €6.15 billion available in new funding in order to halve food waste by 2030; develop quality standards for secondary raw materials; promote standards for reparability, durability and recyclability of products, in addition to energy efficiency; revise the regulation on fertilizers to recognize organic and waste-based material; launch a plastics strategy to address issues of recyclability, biodegradability and the presence of hazardous substances; significantly reduce marine litter; and propose the minimum requirement for the reuse of wastewater.

Frans Timmermans on the left and Jyrki Katainen"These proposals give a positive signal to those waiting to invest in the circular economy. Today we are saying that Europe is the best place to grow a sustainable and environmentally-friendly business," declared EC vice president Jyrki Katainen, the commissioner responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness.

"This transition towards a more circular economy is about reshaping the market economy and improving our competitiveness. If we can be more resource efficient and reduce our dependency on scarce raw materials, we can develop a competitive edge. The job creation potential of the circular economy is huge, and the demand for better, more efficient products and services is booming," he added.

The EC said it wants a common EU target to recycle 65 percent of all municipal waste and 75 percent of all packaging waste by 2030; and a binding landfill maximum of 10 percent of all waste by 2030.

In making the announcement, Katainen and Commission first vice president responsible for sustainable development Frans Timmermans (left of picture), called on the European Parliament to prioritize adoption and implementation of today's legislative proposals.

Earlier this year a report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, produced in conjunction with McKinsey and the Endowment Fund for Environmental Economics and Sustainability (SUN), suggested Europe could create an annual net benefit of €1.8 trillion by 2030 if it applies circular economy principles.

The study provides new evidence that a circular economy, enabled by the technology revolution, would allow Europe to grow resource productivity by 3.0 percent annually and generate as much as €0.6 trillion per year by 2030. In addition circularity would produce €1.2 trillion in non-resource and externality gains, bringing total annual benefits to €1.8 trillion.

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