The European Commission unveiled on Wednesday its “action plan” for the circular economy, a dense program to improve the recyclability of products consumed in the EU and, ultimately, try to reduce the consumption of natural resources.
Among the measures the Commission announces it wants to take, the establishment of a “right to compensation”, “desired by all consumers”, in particular for electronic devices, underlined the European Commissioner for the Environment Virginijus Sinkevicius during a press conference in Brussels.
“First, our goal is to increase the life cycle of products, that they have replaceable and repairable parts, which would allow consumers to choose whether they want to use their devices longer”, underlined Mr. Sinkevicius. The concept will be incorporated into European eco-design legislation, he said, by 2021.
It is the second circular economy action plan proposed by Brussels. The first had set recycling targets for different types of waste. It mainly examines the life cycle of the products consumed by Europeans.
500 kilos of waste
Each year, an EU citizen produces almost 500 kilos of waste. The volume of materials used to make packaging is growing every year and packaging waste reached 173 kilos per capita in 2017, according to Commission figures.
“At present, the economy is still essentially linear, since only 12% of secondary materials and resources are reintroduced there”, deplored the Commission’s executive vice-president Frans Timmermans, who oversees the deployment of the “European Green Pact”, quoted in a press release.
The Commission will break down this roadmap into different programs, legislative proposals or simple guidelines. In particular, it will propose, by 2021, a legislative text “so that products placed on the Union market are designed to last longer, are easier to reuse, repair and recycle and contain as much as possible recycled materials rather than primary raw materials. “
“These provisions will limit single use, will fight against premature obsolescence and will prohibit the destruction of unsold durable goods”, explains the Commission in a press release. Brussels also plans next year to publish “strategies” for different sectors, such as textiles and construction.
It will also propose a new regulatory framework to improve the collection and recycling of batteries. In its strategy “From farm to table”, which must be unveiled before the summer, it will propose a goal of reducing food waste.