The European Parliament adopted by 394 votes to 197, with 82 abstentions, a resolution on resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy.
Resource efficiency urgency: the unsustainable use of resources is both causing environmental damage and posing an economic risk. The global economy uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets worth of resources to produce global output and absorb waste. By the 2030s this figure is estimated to reach two planets. Parliament stressed that improving resource use through better design requirements, and through waste legislation that ensures upward movement in the waste hierarchy (thereby fostering waste prevention, reuse, preparation for reuse and recycling), could bring substantial net savings for EU businesses, public authorities and consumers, estimated at EUR 600 billion, or 8 % of annual turnover, while also reducing total annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2-4 %. The resolution recalled that resource efficiency is a priority objective of the 7th Environment Action Programme, which emphasises the need to stimulate production and consumer demand for environmentally sustainable products and services through policies that promote their availability, affordability, functionality and attractiveness.
In this regard, although endorsing the Commissions approach to designing and innovating for a circular economy, Parliament stressed that legislative measures are needed to move towards a circular economy, and called on the Commission to come forward with an ambitious proposal by the end of 2015.
Indicators and targets: the Commission is urged to propose, by the end of 2015, a lead indicator and a dashboard of sub-indicators on resource efficiency, including ecosystem services. The use of these harmonised indicators should be legally binding as of 2018.
It should also propose, by the end of 2015, a target to increase resource efficiency at EU level by 30 % by 2030 compared with 2014 levels. These indicators should be included in the European Semester and in all impact assessments.
Product policy and ecodesign: Parliament stressed the importance of a well-thought-out product policy that increases products expected lifetime, durability, reusability and recyclability. The Commission is called upon to:
For their part, Member States are urged to:
Towards zero waste: Parliament urged the Commission to submit the announced proposal on the review of waste legislation by the end of 2015, diligently applying the waste hierarchy. This proposal should, inter alia, set binding waste reduction targets for municipal, commercial and industrial waste to be achieved by 2025.
It also called on the Commission to:
ensure that existing waste legislation and targets are completely and properly implemented, including in particular the obligation of separate collection schemes;
Sustainable buildings: the report called on the Commission to propose the full implementation of the circular economy principles and requirements in the building sector and to further develop the policy framework on resource efficiency in buildings. Indoor air quality and the well-being and social needs of users should be integrated into the sustainability assessment of buildings.
Other measures: the Commission is urged to: