The European Commission adopted a new Circular Economy Action Plan – one of the main building blocks of the European Green Deal, Europe's new agenda for sustainable growth. With measures along the entire life cycle of products and building on the work done since 2015, the new Plan focuses on the design and production for a circular economy, with the aim to ensure that the resources used are kept in the EU economy for as long as possible.
Published under the umbrella of the EU Industrial Strategy, the Circular Economy Action Plan proposes measures to design waste out of the economy by transforming it into high-quality secondary resources that are fed back into the production process. To that end, the Commission will explore setting an EU-wide, harmonised model for the separate collection of waste and product labeling.
In the coming months and years, a series of policies is expected to stem from the plan. Most notably, a legislative framework on sustainable products, the right to repair, and on the sectors that use the most resources and where the potential for circularity is high (e.g. electronics and ICT, batteries and vehicles, packaging, plastics, textiles, construction and buildings, and food) are slated for adoption in the near future.
The plan links decentralised public authorities with regional and social funds, as well as with the cohesion policy, which are among the main levers through which local and regional authorities steer local economies. This is important because, as Françoise Bonnet, Secretary General of ACR+, said:
"In their role as pioneers of best practices and regulators, local and regional authorities are instrumental to the successful transition to a circular economy. They can help mainstream best practices in circular economy so they become the norm."