This section provides an overview of key documents related to the topic of Circular Economy in Europe.
EU legal framework - key documents
In September 2014, the European Commission, in correspondence with the planned revision of the European waste legislation, has developed a package of measures that aim to reduce the production of waste and to promote a more general transition to a circular economy. These measures are contained in the Communication "Towards a circular economy: a program for a zero-waste Europe" that stimulated the entry of the topic into the European public debate.
In 2015, the European Commission adopted an ambitious Circular Economy Action Plan, which includes measures that will help stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy, boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.
Key elements of the revised waste proposal include:
- A common EU target for recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2035;
- A common EU target for recycling 70% of packaging waste by 2030;
- Recycling targets for specific packaging materials;
- A binding landfill target to reduce landfill to maximum of 10% of municipal waste by 2035;
- Separate collection obligations are strengthened and extended to hazardous household waste (by end 2022), bio-waste (by end 2023), textiles (by end 2025).
- Minimum requirements are established for extended producer responsibility schemes to improve their governance and cost efficiency.
- Prevention objectives are significantly reinforced, in particular, requiring Member States to take specific measures to tackle food waste and marine litter as a contribution to achieve EU commitments to the UN SDGs.
On March 14th 2017, with the vote of the European Parliament, the Circular Economy Package was approved by a large majority. The adopted report considerably improves the 2015 proposal made by the European Commission, in particular with regard to the recycling targets for 2030 raised to 70% for solid urban waste and 80% for packaging.
- Directive (EU) 2018/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council on end-of-life vehicles, on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators, and on waste electrical and electronic equipment
- Directive (EU) 2018/850 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the landfill of waste
- Directive (EU) 2018/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste
- Directive (EU) 2018/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council on packaging and packaging waste
- COM/2013/0196 from the Commission - Building the Single Market for Green Products - Facilitating better information on the environmental performance of products and organisations
- SWD(2018) 36 final, Commission Staff Working Document, Report on Critical Raw Materials and the Circular Economy
- COM 2015/614 from the Commision - Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy
- COM(2018) 28 final from the Commission - A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy