Implementation of the European Commission’s Circular Economy Package in “on track”, according to the European Environment Commissioner, Karmenu Vella – but we may not see a progress report for five years.
Speaking to the Committee on Environment in Brussels, Vella (pictured) said the Circular Economy Package, announced in December last year, if fully implemented, will bring about a “triple win-situation” to society through savings for EU businesses, job creation and a reduction of environmental pressures including carbon emissions.
He said the focus is now on preparing the different elements foreseen in the package.
“Implementation of the Action Plan is on track,” he said “Last year, we launched targeted calls in the Horizon2020 programme for ‘Industry 2020 in the Circular Economy’, and the Commission adopted its proposal for online sales of goods. And one month ago (17 March) we presented a revised Fertilisers Regulation, including measures to improve the market access of organic and bio-waste-based fertilisers in the EU.”
He announced the Commission is now preparing the new Eco-design Work Plan, looking into addressing energy efficiency in products but also reparability, durability, upgradability, and recyclability.
He also announced that in order to keep track of its implementation, the Package foresees a progress report 5 years after its adoption. He said, however, more regular updates to member states, the European Parliament and Stakeholders are under discussion.
“Discussions on the legislative proposals on waste have got off to a good start,” he said. “Reactions of the member states in the Council Working Group have so far been positive.”
He went on to explaine that marine litter is an issue particularly close to his heart.
“We need an approach that deals with this on land and at sea,” said. “There are many good initiatives already happening, beach clean ups, fishing for waste, research, and policy initiatives such as our action to reduce single use plastic bags. But I see a need to coordinate these and focus them where they are most effective.”
Eco-design Work Plan
Commenting on the Eco-design Work Plan policy anticipated this week, the
European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (FEAD) Secretary General, Nadine De Greef, said: “The Eco-Design Directive work plan for 2015-2017 is an excellent opportunity for Europe to take the lead in smart eco-design and to ensure the success of the transition towards a circular economy. Our members are concerned by the necessity to raise awareness on the impact of eco-design choices on the waste management processes.
“Therefore, it is important to us that durability, reparability and recyclability requirements are established in the coming work plan and that relations between the manufacturing and the waste and resource industry are facilitated and intensified.
“We also wish to highlight the determinant role played by Extended Producer Responsibility schemes in providing incentives for manufacturers to design their products in a recyclable and non-hazardous way. FEAD members are playing an active part in the promotion of circular economy and hope that the new Eco-Design Directive work plan will become a decisive tool for the current package.”