MEPs: EU has to switch to a circular economy model

Products should be durable, easily repaired, upgraded and recycled

Photo: EU Storage of plastic waste bales.

Over the last 50 years, natural resource use worldwide has more than tripled and is set to keep growing unless a fundamental change occurs in current production and consumption patterns. During the plenary session, MEPs adopted comprehensive policy recommendations to achieve a carbon-neutral, sustainable, toxic-free and fully circular economy by 2050 at the latest.

The EP report, a response to the Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan, underlines the need of binding 2030 targets for materials use and the consumption footprint, covering the whole lifecycle of each product category on the EU market.

Lawmakers call on the Commission to propose product-specific and/or sector-specific binding targets for recycled content.

They also call on the Commission to put forward new legislation in 2021, broadening the scope of the Ecodesign Directive to include non-energy-related products.

It includes specific standards for products placed on the EU market. They should be durable, reusable, not toxic, can be easily repaired, upgraded and recycled, contain recycled content, and are resource- and energy-efficient.

The rapporteur on the file Jan Huitema (Renew Europe, NL) commented that 90% of the products we use today follow a linear path, which means that if we continue to use all those natural resources in such a way by 2050 we will need three planets.

Other key recommendations include introducing measures against greenwashing and false environmental claims, as well as legislative measures to stop practices that result in planned obsolescence.

MEPs insisted on strengthening the role of Green Public Procurement by establishing minimum mandatory criteria and targets and mainstreaming circular economy principles into EU countries’ national recovery plans.

Lawmakers also stressed that achieving the Green Deal objectives will only be possible if the EU switches to a circular economy model. This change will create new jobs and business opportunities.

They emphasised that existing legislation on waste must be implemented more thoroughly, and further measures are needed for key sectors and products, such as textiles, plastics, packaging and electronics.



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