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Procedure : 2020/2077(INI)
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Document selected : A9-0008/2021

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PV 08/02/2021 - 15
CRE 08/02/2021 - 15

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PV 09/02/2021 - 14
PV 10/02/2021 - 3

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Texts adopted
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Wednesday, 10 February 2021 - Brussels
New Circular Economy Action Plan

European Parliament resolution of 10 February 2021 on the New Circular Economy Action Plan (2020/2077(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 March 2020 entitled ‘A new Circular Economy Action Plan: For a cleaner and more competitive Europe’(COM(2020)0098), and the staff working document ‘Leading the way to a global circular economy: state of play and outlook’ (SWD(2020)0100),

–  having regard to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 12 “Responsible consumption and production” and SDG 15 “Life on land”,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 October 2020 on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability Towards a Toxic-Free Environment (COM(2020)0667)(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 July 2020 on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability(2),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 10 March 2020 entitled "A New Industrial Strategy for Europe" (COM(2020)0102),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 May 2020 entitled "An EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 bringing nature back into our lives" (COM(2020)0380),

–  having regard to the IPBES Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report of May 2019,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 May 2020 entitled ‘a Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system’ (COM(2020)0381),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 October 2018 entitled “A sustainable Bioeconomy for Europe: Strengthening the connection between economy, society and the environment” (COM(2018)0673),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 16 January 2018 ‘A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy’ (COM(2018)0028),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2019 on a European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 November 2019 on the climate and environment emergency(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 July 2017 on a longer lifetime for products: benefits for consumers and companies(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 July 2015 on resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2018 on implementation of the circular economy package: options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 July 2020 on a comprehensive European approach to energy storage(8),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2020/741 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 May 2020 on minimum requirements for water reuse(9),

–  having regard to the proposal for the 8th Environment Action Programme presented by the Commission on 14 October 2020, in particular the priority objective of accelerating the transition to a circular economy set out in Article 2(2)(c) of the proposal,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2019 on ‘The European Green Deal’ (COM(2019)0640),

–  having regard to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special reports on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems, and on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and the special IPCC report ‘Global Warming of 1.5°C’, its fifth assessment report (AR5) and its synthesis report of September 2018,

–  having regard to the first Circular Economy Action Plan launched in 2015 (Commission communication of 2 December 2015 entitled ‘Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy’ (COM(2015)0614)) and the actions taken under that plan,

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 July 2020 on a Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2018 on a European strategy for plastics in a circular economy(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2018 on implementation of the circular economy package: options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 31 May 2018 on the implementation of the Ecodesign Directive(14),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment(15) (“Single Use Plastics Directive”),

–  having regard to the revision of EU waste legislation, adopted in 2018: Directive (EU) 2018/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste(16) (“Waste Framework Directive”); Directive (EU) 2018/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste(17) (“Packaging Waste Directive”); Directive (EU) 2018/850 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste(18) (“Landfill Directive”); and Directive (EU) 2018/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directives 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles, 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators, 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment(19),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures(20) (the ‘CLP Regulation’),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 26 January 2017 on the role of waste-to-energy in the circular economy (COM(2017)0034),

–  having regard to the Global Resources Outlook 2019(21), and Resource Efficiency and Climate Change(22) reports by the International Resource Panel,

–  having regard to the Science publication “Evaluating scenarios toward zero plastic pollution”(23),

–  having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the opinions of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on International Trade, the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A9-0008/2021),

A.  whereas the International Resource Panel, in its report ‘Global Resources Outlook 2019’, estimates that half of the total greenhouse gas emissions and more than 90 % of biodiversity loss and water stress come from resource extraction and processing; whereas the global economy uses the equivalent of 1,5 planets’ worth of resources and whereas 3 planets would be needed already now, if everyone consumed at the rate of the average EU resident, and whereas a significant reduction in our overall use of natural resources and in our waste production should be the overarching objective of the circular economy; whereas this will require a decoupling of economic growth from resource use, keeping in mind the distinction between absolute and relative decoupling;

B.  whereas these figures illustrate the central role of sustainable use of resources, in particular primary raw materials and the need to step up action at all levels and across the world; whereas the concept of circular economy is in its nature horizontal and will contribute significantly to the achievement of other environmental objectives including the objectives of the Paris Agreement;

C.  whereas the transition to a circular economy plays a crucial role in reducing the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and achieving the EU’s 2030 climate target and the net-zero GHG emissions objective by 2050 at the latest, and requires a profound transformation of value chains across the economy;

D.  whereas a shift to a circular economy has the potential to promote sustainable business practices and whereas European companies and economies are expected to be at the forefront of those implementing, but also benefiting from, in a global race towards circularity, due to the EU’s well developed business models, our circular knowledge and recycling expertise;

E.  whereas the principles of circular economy should be the core element of any European and national industrial policy, and of the national Recovery and Resilience Plans of Member States in the framework of the Recovery and Resilience Facility;

F.  whereas the overall energy consumption in the EU is significant and the circular economy action should also involve energy efficiency and the sustainable sourcing of energy sources;

G.  whereas the circular economy is relevant to various SDGs including Goal 12 “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns’’ as well as Goal 13 on “Climate action”;

H.  whereas designing out waste and pollution is one of the principles of circular economy;

I.  whereas according to recent studies, the circular economy has the potential to increase the EU’s GDP by an additional 0,5 % and create more than 700 000 new jobs by 2030(24), while also has the potential to improve the quality of the jobs; whereas between 2012 and 2018 the number of jobs linked to the circular economy in the EU grew by 5 % to reach around 4 million; whereas with supportive policies and industry investment, the expectations are that by 2030 the EU remanufacturing could attain an annual value of between around EUR 70 bn and EUR 100 bn with the associated employment of between around 450 000 and almost 600 000;

J.  whereas the sustainable and responsible sourcing of primary raw materials is critical to achieve resource efficiency and meeting the circular economy objectives; thus sustainable sourcing standards for priority materials and commodities need to be developed;

K.  whereas up to 80 % of the environmental impacts of products are determined during the design phase and only 12 % of the materials used by the EU’s industry come from recycling

L.  whereas the fast rise of e-commerce has significantly increased packaging waste, such as single-use plastic and cardboard waste; and whereas shipments of waste to third countries still remain a concern;

M.  whereas it is estimated that 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated in the EU each year and whereas over 50 % of food waste is estimated to come from households and the consumer level; whereas food waste has a considerable environmental impact, accounting for about 6 % of total EU Greenhouse Gas emissions;

N.  whereas plastics create environmental concerns if not properly managed, such as littering, difficulty of reuse and recycling, substances of concern, greenhouse gas emissions and resource use;

O.  whereas ECHA has adopted a scientific opinion to restrict the use of micro plastics that are intentionally added to products on the EU/EEA market, in concentrations of more than 0,01 % weight by weight;

P.  whereas, according to European Environment Agency (EEA) estimates, between 1996 and 2012, the amount of clothes bought per person in the EU increased by 40 %, while at the same time, more than 30 % of clothes in wardrobes in Europe have not been used for at least a year. Moreover, once discarded, over half the garments are not recycled, but end up in mixed household waste and are subsequently sent to incinerators or landfill(25);

Q.  whereas it has been over two years since the IPCC released its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, which stated that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society;

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s new Circular Economy Action Plan; highlights the fact that the circular economy, in combination with the zero-pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment, is key to reducing the overall environmental footprints of European production and consumption, respecting planetary boundaries, and protecting human health, while at the same time ensuring a competitive and innovative economy; underlines the major contribution that the circular economy can give to reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Sustainable Development Goals;

2.  Calls on the Commission to bring forward all the initiatives under the Action Plan in line with the dates set out in the Annex of the Communication and to base each legislative proposal on a comprehensive impact assessment, underlines the importance of taking into account also the costs of non-action;

3.  Underlines that the circular economy can provide solutions to the new challenges caused and highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis by strengthening the value chains within the EU and globally and reducing their vulnerability, and by making European industrial ecosystems more resilient and sustainable as well as competitive and profitable; notes that this will promote the EU’s strategic autonomy and contribute to the creation of jobs; underlines that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the necessity for an enabling environment for the circular economy; calls on the Member States to mainstream circular economy in their national recovery and resilience plans;

4.  Believes that a circular economy is the way for the EU and European companies to remain innovative and competitive in a global market while reducing their environmental footprints; therefore urges the Commission and the Member States to direct investments in order to scale up circular economy initiatives and support innovation ; considers that the EU’s economic recovery plan (Next Generation EU) as well as the Just Transition Fund and Horizon Europe should be used to put in place and promote circular economy initiatives, practices, infrastructure and technologies;

5.  Underlines improving the functioning of the internal market is a precondition for achieving a circular economy within the EU; stresses in particular the importance of proper implementation and effective enforcement of existing rules for a well-functioning sustainable single market; recalls that the EU is both the world’s second largest economic power and the world’s largest trading power; points out that the single market is a powerful tool that must be used to develop sustainable and circular products or technologies that will become tomorrow’s standards, thus enabling citizens to purchase affordable products that are safe, healthy and respectful of the planet;

6.  Underlines the need for an absolute decoupling of growth from resource use; calls on the Commission to propose science-based binding EU mid-term and long-term targets for the reduction in the use of primary raw materials and environmental impacts; calls for setting the EU targets through a back-casting approach to ensure that policy objectives are on a credible path to achieve a carbon-neutral, environmentally sustainable, toxic-free and fully circular economy within planetary boundaries by 2050 at the latest;

7.  Calls on the Commission to propose binding EU targets for 2030 to significantly reduce the EU material and consumption footprints and bring them within planetary boundaries by 2050, using the indicators to be adopted by end of 2021 as part of the updated monitoring framework; calls on the Commission to build on the examples set by the most ambitious Member States while taking due account of differences in starting points and capabilities between the Member States;

8.  Urges the Commission to introduce by 2021 harmonised, comparable and uniform circularity indicators, consisting of material footprint and consumption footprint indicators, as well as a number of sub-indicators on resource efficiency and ecosystem services; these indicators should measure resource consumption and resource productivity, and include imports and exports, at EU, Member State and industry levels and be consistent with harmonised life cycle assessment and natural capital accounting methodologies; they should be applied across Union policies, financial instruments and regulatory initiatives;

9.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitment to update and review the monitoring framework for the circular economy; regrets that the current monitoring framework does not present a comprehensive and holistic set of indicators allowing to measure the decoupling of economic growth from resource use and environmental impact; highlights that the monitoring framework should cover the above-mentioned circularity indicators and in addition the full range of objectives and concrete actions of the Circular Economy Action Plan in order to provide an effective instrument for measuring circularity and progress towards the achievement of its objectives in a comprehensive way;

10.  Also highlights the necessity of scientifically robust measurement to capture synergies between the circular economy and climate change mitigation, including through carbon footprint measurements;

11.  Highlights the opportunities that lie in the optimised use of products and services, in addition to measures that extend life-cycles and material use; in this context, stresses in particular the opportunities to combine circular economy solutions and digitalisation; calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop policies to support new sustainable and circular business models, such as product-as-a-service (PaaS) approaches that save resources and reduce environmental impacts while ensuring protection for consumers invites the Commission to facilitate such PaaS approaches in the new Sustainable Products Initiative and calls on the Commission and Member States to remove undue regulatory and fiscal barriers to them and promote the development of infrastructures that enable circularity and a sustainable digital economy; recalls that digitalisation also has considerable climate and environmental impacts, such as a growing energy demand, raw material extraction and the generation of electronic waste; calls on the Commission to assess and address these challenges by establishing a methodology for monitoring and quantifying the environmental impact of digital technologies, structures and services including data centres, and by proposing measures - including where appropriate legislative measures - to ensure the environmental sustainability of digital solutions putting energy efficiency, reduction of GHG emissions and resource use and the establishment of a circular economy at the centre of a sustainable digital transition;

12.  Calls on the Commission to identify regulatory measures and other actions that would be needed to remove the administrative and legal obstacles to a circular sharing and service economy and to incentivise its development; in particular calls on the Commission to explore solutions to challenges such as liability issues and ownership rights related to the sharing and service economy, keeping in mind that improved legal certainty both for producers and consumers is vital to enable these concepts; suggests that the Commission considers developing a European strategy for the sharing and service economy that deals with these questions, while also addressing social issues;

13.  Emphasises the need for better understanding of how Artificial Intelligence technologies can support a circular economy by encouraging their applications in design, business models, and infrastructure; Points out the importance of treating digitisation as an enabler of circular economy, notably when it comes to product passports or material information in the context of an EU-wide ‘dataspace’: Stresses that improving data accessibility and sharing will be key while ensuring active collaboration between stakeholders to make sure that new approaches remain fair and inclusive, and safeguard privacy and data security.

14.  Underlines the need to create economic incentives and the right regulatory environment for innovation in circular solutions, materials and business models, while at the same time eliminating market-distorting subsidies and environmentally harmful subsidies, and calls for support for this in the new industrial strategy for Europe and the SME Strategy; emphasises the specific role that first movers, SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and start-ups are playing in the transition to a circular economy; underlines that research in sustainable materials, processes, technologies and products, as well as their industrial scale-up, can provide European companies with a global competitive advantage; emphasises that policies are needed at the EU and national levels to support the frontrunners in circular economy and circular business models;

15.  Highlights the need to engage European industry as a stakeholder in the transition to a more circular economy; recalls the crucial role of circular economy measures in achieving industrial decarbonisation; calls for circularity approaches in industry, at all levels of product design, sourcing of materials, product reuse and recycling, and waste management, and underlines the need to stimulate the development of lead markets for sustainable industrial materials and products;

16.  Encourages companies to prepare transition plans as part of their annual reporting describing how and when they intend to achieve climate neutrality, circular economy and sustainability;

17.  Calls on Member States to prioritise options which have minimal administrative burdens and to strengthen the development of Research and Development public-private partnerships that deliver systemic and holistic solutions;

18.  Calls on the Commission to establish a regulatory framework for certification of all nature-based and technological carbon removal solutions, including carbon capture and storage and utilization (CCSU);

19.  Underlines the crucial role of biomimicry as an accelerator of circularity, in promoting biomimetic solutions which by design minimise the use of material, energy and toxic compounds and provide sustainable, regenerative and innovative solutions inspired by nature applicable to a multitude of sectors,

20.  Calls for adequate staffing levels and budget for the Commission services tasked with ensuring the successful implementation of the Action Plan; stresses that the allocation of resources must respond to both current and long-term political priorities and thus, in the context of the European Green Deal, expects a significant reinforcement of human resources in the Commission Directorate-General for Environment in particular;

A sustainable product policy framework

21.  Emphasises the need to turn the linear “take-make-dispose” economy to a truly circular economy, based on the following principles: reduction in energy and resource use; the retention of value in the economy; waste prevention; the designing out of waste and of harmful substances and pollution; keeping products and materials in use and in closed loops; protection of human health; promotion of consumer benefits; and regenerating natural systems; these objectives should guide the new sustainable product policy framework as well as the Circular Economy Strategy as a whole, and the Industrial Strategy; stresses the need to fully integrate sustainable circular system thinking in all activities including policies, products, production processes and business models;

22.  Underlines that sustainable, circular, safe and non-toxic products and materials should become the norm in the EU market and not the exception and should be seen as the default choice, which is attractive, affordable and accessible for all consumers; welcomes therefore the Commission’s plan to propose a legislative initiative on sustainable products to set horizontal principles for product policy and binding requirements on products placed on the EU market;

23.  Strongly endorses the broadening of the scope of the Ecodesign Directive(26) to include non-energy-related products and set horizontal sustainability principles and product-specific standards for performance, durability, reusability, reparability, non-toxicity, upgradability, recyclability, recycled content, and resource and energy efficiency in products placed on the EU market, and invites the Commission to present a proposal for this in 2021; at the same time, reiterates its call on the Commission to be ambitious in the implementation of ecodesign for all energy-using products under the current scope the Ecodesign Directive, including with regard to circular economy aspects;

24.  Stresses the importance of maintaining a coherent and clear EU legislative framework for sustainable products and highlights the need to strengthen synergies with other policies including the EU Ecolabel; underlines that, in parallel to legal minimum standards for product design, it is important to provide market incentives for the most sustainable companies and sustainable products and materials;

25.  Calls on the Commission to propose binding material and environmental footprint targets for the whole product lifecycle for each product category placed on the EU market, including the most carbon-intensive semi-products; also calls on the Commission to propose product-specific and/or sector-specific binding targets for recycled content, while ensuring the performance and safety of the products concerned and that they are designed for recycling; urges the Commission to establish supporting technological, regulatory and market conditions to achieve these objectives and to take into account the required industrial changes and the investment cycles in each sector; at the same time, urges the Commission to consider mandatory requirements to increase the sustainability of services;

26.  Supports the plan to introduce digital product passports in order to help companies, consumers and market surveillance authorities, to keep track of a product’s climate, environmental, social and other impacts throughout the value chain and provide reliable, transparent and easily accessible information about the durability of the product and its maintenance, reuse, repair and dismantling possibilities and end-of-life handling as well as its composition in terms of materials and chemicals used and their environmental and other impacts; calls on the Commission to assess the options for a label in this regard; considers that the product passports should be introduced in a way that avoids undue regulatory burden for companies in particular SMEs; believes that they should be compatible with other digital tools, such as the upcoming Building Renovation Passport and the SCIP database;

27.  Underlines the key importance of achieving non-toxic and restorative material cycles for the success of the circular economy and for creating a sustainable single market, and ultimately for ensuring a toxic-free environment for Europe’s citizens; therefore reiterates the positions taken in its resolution on a Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and its resolution on the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation, and insists on swift actions to implement the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability Towards a Toxic Free Environment;

28.  Emphasises the right of consumers to more precise, harmonised and accurate information about the environmental and climate impacts of products and services throughout their lifecycle, including in terms of durability and reparability, and calls for measures against greenwashing and false environmental claims relating to products offered both online and offline; strongly supports the Commission’s intention to make proposals to regulate the use of green claims through the establishment of solid and harmonised calculation methods covering the full value chain, based on harmonised indicators and life-cycle assessments such as environmental footprints, including with respect to waste prevention, raw material use, avoidance of harmful substances, durability and longevity of the product as well as design to be repairable and recyclable; furthermore, stresses the need to enforce the recently amended Directive 2005/29/EC(27) through proactive measures tackling green claims;

29.  Calls on the Commission to support the development of digital tools for consumer information to empower the consumer in the digital age; stresses the importance of online platforms and marketplaces for promoting sustainable products and services and notes that they could provide consumers with more clear and easily understandable information on the durability and reparability of the products they offer;

30.  Highlights the need to reinforce the EU Ecolabel as a benchmark for environmental sustainability, by increasing market and consumer awareness and recognition, setting of comprehensive standards and further extending the scheme to relevant products and facilitating its use in procurement;

31.  Supports the planned initiatives to improve the durability and reparability of products in accordance with the principle of waste prevention in the waste hierarchy, while strengthening consumer rights in both business-to-consumer and business-to-business markets; therefore strongly welcomes the planned initiatives to establish a new ‘right to repair’, which should cover at least the extended life cycle of products, access to spare parts and to comprehensive information and to affordable repair services for consumers;

32.  Calls, in this context, for measures to provide free-of-charge access to necessary repair and maintenance information, including information on spare parts and software updates, to all market participants, while keeping in mind the imperatives of consumer safety and without prejudice to Directive (EU) 2016/943(28), as well as to ensure access to spare parts without unfair hindrances for all actors of the repair sector, including independent repairers, and consumers, to define mandatory minimum periods of time for the availability of spare parts and/or updates and maximum delivery time limits for an extended range of product categories that would take into account their specificities, and to assess how repair can be encouraged under the legal guarantee regime; stresses that sellers should inform all market participants about the reparability of its products;

33.  Calls, in order to facilitate consumer decision-making, for clear and easily understandable harmonised labelling, which could take the form of an index, on product durability (i.e. on the estimated lifetime of a product) and reparability and for the development of a uniform repair score and the introduction of usage meters for certain product categories; calls for minimum information requirements pursuant to Directives 2005/29/EC and 2011/83/EU(29); asks the Commission, when preparing its review of Directive (EU) 2019/771(30), to consider extending both the legal guarantee rights and the reversed burden of proof rules for some product categories that have a higher estimated lifetime, and introducing direct producer liability;

34.  Calls for legislative measures to stop practices resulting in planned obsolescence, also by considering adding such practices to the list in Annex I of Directive 2005/29/EC;

35.  Welcomes the Commission's intentions to introduce legislation banning destruction of unsold durable goods unless they pose a safety or health threat; underlines that recycling, reuse and redistribution of non-food items should be the norm and enforced by legislation;

36.  Underlines the need to boost the internal market for sustainable products and believes that the public sector should lead the way; notes that public authorities still often only apply the lowest price criterion as the award criterion when selecting the best offers for goods, services or works; supports the establishment of minimum mandatory criteria and targets for green public procurement in sectorial legislation;

37.  Stresses the role of Green Public Procurement (GPP) in accelerating the shift towards a sustainable and circular economy and the importance of implementing GPP during the EU’s economic recovery;

38.  Urges the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal to green public procurement procedures; considers that reused, repaired, remanufactured, refurbished products and other energy and resource efficient products and solutions that minimise the life-cycle environmental impacts are the default choice in all public procurement, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal, and if they are not preferred, the ‘comply or explain’ principle should apply; also asks the Commission to provide guidelines to support sustainable corporate procurement; calls for reporting obligations for the Commission and the Member States with regard to the sustainability of their procurement decisions, while respecting the subsidiarity principle;

39.  Underlines the need to promote a high quality of material collection flows, reuse and recycling, to maintain materials at their highest value and to achieve clean, non-toxic and sustainable closed material loops; stresses the need to increase the availability and quality of recyclates, focusing on the ability of a material to retain its inherent properties after recycling, and its ability to replace primary raw materials in future applications; in this context underlines the need to stimulate both increased recyclability in product design and measures such as effective separate collection and deposit return systems; calls for support for the creation of recycling facilities and capacities, according to the principle of proximity, where these do not already exist;

40.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to support the development of high-quality collection, sorting and material reuse and recycling infrastructures, and to support research into the development of new innovative technologies that minimise resource use and residual waste generation, enhance the yield and quality of recyclable and reusable secondary materials, decontaminate recyclates, and reduce the overall environmental footprint - including energy and climate footprints - in relation to other technologies; believes that chemical recycling, where it fulfils these criteria, has the potential to contribute to closing the material loop in certain waste streams;

41.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the health, environmental and climate impacts of processes and outputs of new recycling and recovery technologies are thoroughly evaluated at the industrial level prior to their incentivisation, and to guarantee transparency throughout the evaluation;

42.  Considers that chemical recycling needs to fulfil the definition of recycling pursuant to the Waste Framework Directive to ensure that the reprocessing into materials and substances that are to be used as fuels is not considered to be chemical recycling; urges the Commission to provide legal confirmation in this regard;

43.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to enable digital technologies, such as blockchain and digital watermarking, and make them interoperable so that they can support the development of the circular economy through the tracking, tracing and mapping of resource use and product flows through all stages of the life cycle;

44.  Emphasises the importance of improving access to funds for research and innovation projects on the circular economy; therefore calls on the Commission to steer the activities of the Horizon Europe programme towards supporting research and innovation for:

   recycling processes and technologies;
   the resource efficiency of industrial processes;
   innovative and sustainable materials, products, processes, technologies and services, as well as their industrial scale-up;
   the bioeconomy, through bio-based innovation encompassing the development of bio-based materials and products;
   earth observation satellites, as they can play an important role in monitoring the development of a circular economy by evaluating the pressure on virgin raw materials and emissions levels;

45.  Underlines the important role that sustainable renewable inputs can have in circular processes towards decarbonisation and how the use of renewable energy can enhance the circularity of product lifecycles while driving forward the energy transition;

46.  Stresses that “a sustainable product policy framework” legislation should be underpinned by a robust and transparent carbon and environmental accounting system that acts as a catalyst for investment in circular economy products and processes;

47.  Stresses the need to take into account the full life cycle of a product, from-cradle-to-grave, and the impact of sourcing, semi-finished products, spare parts and by-products throughout the value chain when setting product standards for climate and environmental impacts; considers that these must be set through an open, transparent, and science-based process, with the involvement of relevant stakeholders; encourages in this context the establishment of common life cycle assessment methodologies and improved data collection;

48.  Stresses that standardisation is key to implementing a sustainable product policy by providing reliable definitions, metrics and tests for characteristics such as durability and reparability;

49.  Insists that EU standards be developed in a timely manner and in line with real-use conditions, while avoiding administrative bottlenecks for the stakeholders involved resulting in delayed publication of standards;

50.  Recalls the Commission communication of 1 June 2016 entitled ‘European Standards for the 21st century’ and the work carried out on the Joint Initiative on Standardisation (JIS); calls on the Commission to further strengthen the JIS and to adopt new actions and projects aiming to improve the functioning of the European Standardisation Organisations;

51.  Stresses that effective implementation and enforcement of EU legislation relating to product safety and sustainability requirements is crucial to making sure that products placed on the market comply with such rules in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2019/1020(31); adds that a very large number of products purchased online and imported into the EU fail to meet the EU’s minimum safety requirements; calls on the Commission and the Member States to step up their efforts to ensure products are compliant, including products sold online, and address the risks counterfeit products pose to the safety of consumers through enhanced market surveillance and equivalent custom controls standards, as well as through strengthened cooperation in this field and increased budgets and human resources; calls, therefore, for more effective EU oversight, through setting harmonised rules on the minimum number of checks and their frequency, and by empowering the Commission to monitor and audit the activities of national market surveillance authorities;

52.  Underlines that voluntary agreements have proven ineffective in achieving a sustainable and common charging solution for mobile radio equipment; reiterates its call on the Commission to implement as a matter of urgency the provisions of Directive 2014/53/EU(32) on radio equipment, and in particular, to introduce a common charger for smartphones and all small and medium-sized electronic devices to best ensure standardisation, compatibility and interoperability of charging capabilities, including wireless charging, as part of global strategy to reduce electronic waste; asks the Commission to prepare, in a timely manner, a decoupling strategy that ensures consumers are not obliged to buy new chargers with new devices to allow for greater environmental benefits, cost savings and convenience for consumers; reiterates the importance for consumers of receiving, through harmonised labelling in an easy-to-read format, trustworthy and relevant information about relevant features of chargers such as interoperability and charging performance, including compliance with USB 3.1 or higher, to enable them to make the most convenient, cost-efficient and sustainable choices;

53.  Stresses the need for policy coherence across existing and future measures at EU and Member State level in order to ensure that the objectives of the Action Plan are met and to provide economic and investment certainty for circular technologies, products and services, which will also foster EU competitiveness and innovation; calls on the Commission to address any possible existing regulatory inconsistencies or barriers or legal uncertainties that hamper the full deployment of a circular economy; calls for economic incentives such as CO2 pricing, extended producer responsibility with eco-modulation of fees and tax incentives, as well as other financial incentives promoting sustainable consumer choices; believes that these measures should, where relevant, be in line with the technical screening criteria for circular economy defined in the Taxonomy Regulation; calls on Member States to consider Circular Economy objectives in all relevant national legislation and make sure that it is fully aligned with objectives and measures of the EU Circular Economy Strategy; furthermore, calls on the Commission to focus on the implementation of the legislation related to the circular economy to ensure a level playing field for circular production processes and business models;

Key product value chains: electronics and ICT

54.  Supports the Circular Electronics Initiative, which should address the shortcomings in durability, circular design, presence of hazardous and harmful substances, recycled content, reparability, access to spare parts, upgradability, e-waste prevention, collection, reuse and recycling; also calls for the integration of issues linked to early obsolescence including product obsolescence caused by software changes; calls for the harmonisation and improvement of recycling infrastructure for waste electrical and electronic equipment in the EU;

55.  Believes that the collection of electronic waste must be made much easier for consumers; welcomes the Commission’s commitment to explore options for an EU-wide take back scheme for ICT products and believes that such a scheme should cover the widest possible range of products; stresses the importance of designing such a take back scheme, and any other collection model, in a way that safeguards the re-usability of ICT products and provides re-use operators with access to re-useable goods;

56.  Underlines the potential of eco-design measures and recalls that the Ecodesign Directive and the Energy Labelling Directive(33) together provided nearly half of the energy efficiency savings target set by the EU for 2020; underlines the need to ensure the swift finalisation of existing eco-design work on electronics and ICT, notably for smartphones, tablets, computers, printers (including cartridges), mobile network stations and subsystems and networking equipment, in order to propose measures no later than 2021;

57.  Stresses the importance of promoting more sustainable consumption and production patterns for electronic equipment and ICT, and calls on the Commission to investigate the possibility of providing consumer information on the distinction between corrective and user-driven updates and the carbon impact of data consumption;

58.  Calls for establishing a mandatory certification scheme for recyclers of electronics waste to guarantee efficient material recovery and environmental protection;

59.  Besides circular electronics initiative, asks the commission to come up with an initiative of circular and sustainable digitalisation, ICT and AI plan;

Key product value chains: batteries and vehicles

60.  Underlines the importance of a strategic, environmentally sustainable and ethical approach in the new legislative frameworks for batteries and vehicles in the context of the transition to zero-emission mobility and renewable-based electricity grids and the need to ensure sustainable and ethical sourcing of raw materials, including critical raw materials; calls for the creation of competitive and resilient value chains for batteries production, reuse and recycling in the EU;

61.  Welcomes the Commission proposal for a new regulation on batteries and waste batteries, and considers that the new EU regulatory framework for batteries should include at least the following: sustainable, ethical and safe sourcing, eco-design including measures to address recycled content, substitution of hazardous and harmful substances where possible, improved separate collection, reuse, refurbishment, remanufacturing, repurposing and recycling - including higher recycling targets, the recovery of valuable materials, extended producer responsibility, and consumer information; the framework should tackle the full life cycle environmental impacts, with dedicated provisions on batteries related to mobility and energy storage;

62.  Is concerned about the EU’s heavy dependence on imports of raw materials for battery production; is convinced that enhanced recycling schemes for batteries could deliver a significant share of the raw materials required for battery production within the EU;

63.  Expresses its concern about the socio-economic impact of the mineral industry, in particular within the cobalt industry; requests the Commission to assess options for a viable legislative framework to ensure the ethical sourcing of materials and the introduction of a mandatory due-diligence legislation to address adverse environmental and human rights effects within an international context;

64.  Welcomes the Commissions plans to review the End of Life Vehicles Directive(34); Calls on the Commission to update that directive to fully reflect and respect the principles of circular economy, including designing out waste, upgradability, modularity, reparability, reusability, and recyclability of the materials in the highest level of the value, giving the first priority on reuse: calls on the Commission to work to ensure effective reuse chains, with car manufacturers and extended producer liability schemes; Calls on the Commission to improve the reporting of end-of-life vehicles, through a European database; calls on the Commission to clarify, fortify and supervise the principle that dismantling of the car and reuse of the parts must always precede the scrapping and shredding of cars;

65.  Underlines the need to further promote research and innovation for recycling processes and technologies under Horizon Europe in order to increase the circular economy potential of batteries; acknowledges the role of SMEs in the collection and recycling sectors;

Key product value chains: packaging

66.  Reiterates the objective to make all packaging reusable or recyclable in an economically viable way by 2030 and calls for the Commission to present a legislative proposal without delay, including waste reduction measures and targets and ambitious essential requirements in the Packaging Waste Directive to reduce excessive packaging, including in e-commerce, improve recyclability and minimise the complexity of packaging, increase recycled content, phase out hazardous and harmful substances, and promote reuse; stresses that food safety or hygiene standards must not be compromised; calls for these measures to aim at the best overall environmental outcomes in line with the waste hierarchy and for a low carbon footprint;

67.  While underlining the essential role of packaging for product safety, in particular food safety, and hygiene, as well as for reducing food waste, calls on the industry to complement regulatory measures with additional voluntary actions to further avoid unnecessary packaging and substantially reduce the amount of packaging it places on the market, to develop more resource efficient, circular and climate friendly packaging solutions such as harmonised packaging formats and reusable and refillable packaging, and to facilitate the use of reusable transport packaging; encourages initiatives such as the Circular Plastics Alliance and the European Plastics Pact;

68.  Reiterates that high-quality recycling creates real market demand for recycled material and is among the key factors in the drive to increase the total amount of packaging being collected, sorted and recycled, calls for a use of modern and efficient sorting equipment and separation technologies combined with a better eco-design of packaging, including the need to re-design packaging solutions based on improved LCA-criteria;

69.  Calls on the Commission to analyse various types of packaging used in e-commerce to determine best practices in optimising packaging to reduce over-packaging; calls on the Commission to endorse re-use of the packaging materials to deliver several items as an alternative to single-use packaging materials;

70.  Stresses the major role that bulk sales can play in reducing the use of packaging, and calls on the Commission and Member States to encourage this type of measure while ensuring food safety and hygiene;

71.  Underlines the essential role of innovation funds and programmes for material reduction and recycling innovations;

72.  Acknowledges the growth of online sales, with an increase of parcel deliveries; urges the Commission to take measures to ascertain that all online sellers, regardless of their location, comply with the essential requirements and report and contribute financially to the EPR systems in the EU Member States where the products are placed on the market;

73.  Calls on the Commission to support the separate collection and sorting of packaging waste as enshrined in Directive (EU) 2018/852 and ensure its timely transposition by Member States; calls on the Commission to assess the possibility to revise the identification system for packaging materials (Decision 97/129/EC(35)) to facilitate separate collection for citizens according to the recyclability of packaging;

74.  Calls on the Commission to support and explore the potentials for compatible national deposit return schemes to reach the needed collection rate of 90 % of plastic beverage containers and as a step towards establishing a single market for packaging, especially for neighbouring Member States. Compatible schemes could be reached by serialisation and codified and unified labelling. If a Member State does not have a scheme in place or plans to redesign their scheme, they should be encouraged to choose, by means of best practises and relevant scientific evidence, a scheme that is similar to or compatible with those of other Member States;

Key product value chains: plastics

75.  Urges the Commission to continue its implementation of the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, notably in driving better design, circular business models and innovative products and product-as-a-service approaches that offer more sustainable consumption patterns;

76.  Calls on the Commission to tackle plastics, including microplastics, in a comprehensive way; urges the Commission to adopt a general phase-out of intentionally added microplastics and to reduce, through new mandatory regulatory measures, the unintentional release of all microplastics at source, including for example from tyres, textiles, artificial turf and production of plastic pellets; stresses the need to close the gaps in scientific knowledge on microplastics and nanoplastics and foster the development of safer alternatives and competitive markets with microplastics-free products; insists at the same time on the urgency to take short term actions; underlines that the biggest share of the microplastic pollution originates in the degradation of macro-plastics in the environment and supports that plastic products should be targeted with specific measures such as ecodesign requirements during production phase to prevent the release of secondary microplastics in the environment; calls on the Commission to look into the sources, distribution, fate and effects of both macro- and micro-plastics in the context of wastewater treatment and storm water management; recalls that 80 % of marine litter originates from land and urges Member States to act on marine litter hotspots in rivers and estuaries;

77.  Highlights that where single use products are a significant burden on the environment and on resources, single use should be replaced with reusable products where reusable and/or durable alternatives exist, in an environmentally sound manner, without compromising food hygiene or safety; in this regard, calls on the Commission to consider legislative measures, including an extension of the Single Use Plastics Directive in the context of the review of that Directive; calls on the Commission to work on developing standards for reusable packaging and substitutes for single-use packaging, tableware and cutlery;

78.  Recognises the potential role of biobased and biodegradable and compostable plastics in the circular economy, but raises caution that bio-based and/or biodegradable plastics alone will not provide a solution to the environmental concerns related to plastics, highlights the importance of raising awareness on the proper use of bio-based and bio-degradable plastics;

79.  Encourages the proposition of clear global standards of materials, products, design, recycling;

80.  Urges the Commission and Member States to create a consistent transparency framework and reporting obligations for all value chain players on the production, trade, use and end-of-life management of plastics;

81.  Urges the Commission to develop EPR schemes that hold producers accountable for the end-of-life of plastic products;

Key product value chains: textiles

82.  Underlines the importance of a new comprehensive EU strategy for textiles to promote sustainability and circularity as well as traceability and transparency in the EU textile and clothing sector, taking into account the global nature of the value chains and the dimension of ‘fast fashion’; calls for the strategy to present a coherent set of policy instruments and support new business models to address the full range of environmental and social impacts throughout the value chain and to improve the design of textiles to increase durability, reusability and mechanical recyclability and the use of high-quality fibres, notably through a combination of ecodesign type requirements, producer responsibility schemes, and labelling schemes;

83.  Welcomes the application of the new product policy framework to textiles, and stresses that it must prioritise waste prevention and durability, reusability and reparability as well as tackling hazardous and harmful chemicals in line with the waste hierarchy; calls for measures at the design and production stage against synthetic microfibre loss, and for other measures such as the development of preventive controlled and non-polluting industrial pre-washing and standards for equipping new washing machines with microfiber filters; calls for specific EU wide end of waste criteria for textiles;

84.  Calls for the application of the new product policy framework on textiles to be coherent with other policy instruments, namely the forthcoming proposal for EU Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence legislation, to ensure workers’ rights, human rights and gender equality issues are addressed at all stages of the textile value chain.

Key product value chains: construction and buildings

85.  Calls on the Commission to implement the ‘Renovation Wave’ initiative fully in line with the circular economy principles, while taking into account the diversity of the sector; calls on the Commission to set horizontal and product specific requirements; stresses the potential for greenhouse gas savings and environmental gains by prolonging the lifetime of buildings as opposed to demolition; asks the Commission to consider setting reduction targets for the carbon footprint and material footprint of EU buildings and applying the Levels(s) framework on sustainable buildings as a binding framework for construction performance; believes it to be necessary to include minimum legal requirements on the environmental performance of buildings in order to improve the resource efficiency and energy performance of buildings;

86.  Recalls the Commission’s obligation under the Waste Framework Directive to consider a revision of material recovery targets set in EU legislation for construction and demolition waste and its material-specific fractions and believes that this should include a material recovery target for excavated soils; suggests to include reuse and recycling targets and the use of secondary raw materials in construction applications while making them more easily traceable; calls the Commission to revise the Construction Products Regulation and welcomes the announcement of a Strategy for a Sustainable Built Environment in 2021;believes that the adoption of digital solutions in the built environment, such as waste tracing, would allow better energy performance of buildings and greater circularity in the construction sector;

87.  Stresses the importance of putting in place policies for high-calibre building planning that focus on renovation, conversion and continuing use of buildings, where that is possible, rather than on new builds;

88.  Highlights that, as 90 % of the 2050 built environment already exists, special requirements should be set for the renovation sector in order to have fully modular, adaptable to different uses and energy-positive buildings by 2050; including deep renovations, on site production, and reusability;

Key product value chains: food, water and nutrients

89.  Urges the Commission to make a legislative proposal to implement the goal of halving food waste by 2030 in line with the commitments under the Farm to Fork Strategy, and based on data reported by Member States in accordance with the Waste Framework Directive; calls on the Commission to integrate the prevention of food loss and food waste along the entire food value chain in relevant EU policies, as set out in the Farm to Fork Strategy, and recalls that these measures should be in line with the waste hierarchy; calls on Member States to take comprehensive measures to significantly limit food waste and encourage food donations;

90.  Calls on the Commission to take measures to close the agricultural nutrient loop, reduce Europe’s dependency on imports of vegetable proteins for animal feed and to increase the use of recycled animal manure and other organic nutrients, such as compost and digestate, instead of synthetic fertiliser while ensuring a high level of protection of health and of the environment and ecosystems;

91.  Calls for a circular economy based on an environmentally sound regulatory framework to avoid possible negative toxic effects on aquatic ecosystems; welcomes the newly adopted Regulation on minimum requirements for water reuse and the revision of the Drinking Water Directive(36) and calls for their full implementation; calls on the Commission to fully integrate the water-energy nexus in European policies and recalls that the quality of and access to water resources rely on a good implementation of control at source and the polluter pays principle; supports a circular approach in waste water treatments and management in view of fostering urban wastewater recovery; highlights that resources can be recovered from wastewater, ranging from cellulose via bioplastics to nutrients, energy and water, and by continuing an analysis of potential reuse options while reducing energy and water consumption; supports the planned review of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive(37); calls to the Commission to assess the possibility to take legislative measures to address the water efficiency in buildings;

92.  Stresses that increasing access to water to all within the European Union can significantly improve circularity with less reliance on packaged water; calls for full implementation of access to water provisions in the Drinking Water Directive;

93.  Highlights the important role of sustainable bio-based products, in particular a better recovery of biowaste and use of residues and by-products, in the transition to a circular and climate-neutral economy;

94.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure that the separate collection of bio-waste, as introduced by the Waste Framework Directive, aims at producing high-quality compost to support soil enhancement non-hazardous chemicals and other products and renewable energy, where feasible and environmentally beneficial;

95.  Emphasises the potential of a sustainable bio-economy and a sustainable forest-based sector; stresses the importance of the implementation of the EU Bioeconomy and Biodiversity Strategies to improve circularity by the replacement, where environmentally beneficial and sustainable - including for biodiversity, taking into account the increasing demand of bio-materials - of fossil materials with renewable, bio-based materials;

Less waste, more value

96.  Underlines the importance of prioritising waste prevention first, in line with the EU waste hierarchy, both in product policy and waste policy; calls on the Commission to propose binding targets for overall waste reduction and for the reduction of waste in specific waste streams and product groups, as well as targets to cap the generation of residual waste, in the review of the Waste Framework Directive and Landfill Directive foreseen for 2024; considers that preparing for re-use and recycling targets should be separate in order to give preparing for re-use the priority it has in the waste hierarchy;

97.  Expresses concern about the unequal implementation of the EU waste targets in the Member States; calls on the Commission to ensure effective and full implementation by all Member States of both the current waste targets and of the 2018 Waste package, and urges all Member States to fully transpose the 2018 legislation without further delay;

98.  Believes that non-competitive prices and a lack of high quality secondary raw materials and markets for them are among the barriers to a circular economy; asks the Commission to assess measures to make secondary raw materials more competitive while contributing to a toxic-free environment;

99.  Considers the private sector as a strong partner in increasing the demand and customer interest in circular solutions and products, and urges Member States to support companies that have business models, services or products that reduce waste and resource use, and make use of their services;

100.  Strongly endorses the ambition to establish a well-functioning EU market for high-quality, non-toxic secondary raw materials - without prejudice to the provisions of the Waste Framework Directive and the Waste Shipment Regulation - and underlines that this will require common quality standards; recalls that the Member States have the possibility to define national by-products and end-of-waste criteria and calls on the Commission to propose harmonised European end-of-waste criteria for key waste streams in line with the Waste Framework Directive, in order to remove market barriers and ensure high-quality material recovery; deplores the fact that the Commission has not defined EU specific criteria for paper, tyres and textiles, as had been required by the Waste Framework Directive;

101.  Calls on the Commission to pay attention to the rules on transboundary movements of waste for recovery between EU Member States and to consider adapting them in order to increase their clarity and comprehensibility, remove administrative barriers while maintaining the effectiveness of legislation in protecting human health and the environment, and harmonise their implementation across EU Member States, including through the establishment of a single EU electronic system for recording waste shipments;

102.  Supports the Commission’s ongoing work to ensure waste oils’ appropriate treatment; invites the Commission, as defined in the Directive 2008/98/EC(38), to present a legislative proposal by 2022 with additional measures to promote waste oils regeneration, including the introduction of quantitative targets;

103.  Recalls that all Member States have the obligation to ensure that, by 31 December 2023, bio-waste is either separated and recycled at source, or is collected separately and is not mixed with other types of waste; urges the Commission and the Member States to direct investments in order to scale up organic waste collection and composting;

104.  Recalls the EU waste targets and underlines that the EU and Member States must strengthen prevention and preparation for reuse, increase high-quality recycling and move away from landfilling waste, while minimising incineration, in line with the waste hierarchy; calls on the Commission to define a common EU-wide approach for the management of residual municipal waste that is non-recyclable to ensure its optimal treatment and to avoid building overcapacity of waste incineration at the EU level that could cause lock-in effects and hamper the development of the circular economy; considers that where incineration is used this should take place in the most advanced waste-to-energy facilities with a high energy efficiency and low emissions within the EU;

105.  Underlines that separate collection of waste is a prerequisite for high-quality recycling and for keeping valuable materials and products in the recycling loop; supports the Commission’s plans to propose measures to improve and harmonise existing separate collection systems, which should consider best practices in the Member States and take into account different regional and local conditions, and should not adversely impact well-functioning existing systems; calls on the Commission to ensure the proper implementation of the provisions laid down in the Waste Framework Directive;

106.  Stresses the need to build waste strategies and policies on robust scientific data and methodologies, improving the reliability and comparability of EU statistics; calls therefore on the Commission to further harmonise waste statistics, and to collect the data on recycled materials and waste in three points: collection, entry point to recycling facility, and share of effective reuse of recycled materials;

107.  Regrets the lack of focus of the Landfill Directive on the prevention, therefore call for its alignment with the overarching principles of the CEAP and for the 10 % landfill target to be set on a baseline year and kg of waste per person per year in order to prevent diversion from landfilling to waste incineration.

108.  Recalls that industrial symbiosis is a key element to achieve circular economy by promoting interconnected networks where the waste of an industry becomes the raw material of another and energy and material can cycle continuously, keeping resources in productive use as long as possible; calls therefore for increased efforts to scale up industrial symbiosis at the EU level and make the industrial value chain more efficient and more competitive;

109.  Highlights that developing industrial symbiosis would require territories to better understand and manage their local flow of resources and lead them to implement new strategies of spatial planning in collaboration with industries, stakeholders, local administration and citizens, urges Member States to require local and regional governments to identify industrial symbiosis opportunities through a thorough mapping of economic activities and compulsory flow analysis of resources,

110.  Underlines the importance of the implementation of article 8a(1) in the Waste Framework Directive wherein it is clearly stated that Member States are obliged to precisely define the responsibilities and roles for Producer Responsibility Organisations (PROs);

111.  Recommends that the development of local value chains based on the recycling of bio-waste for the generation of renewable energy, such as biomethane, is supported to create closer links between rural and urban communities while fully implementing the waste hierarchy;

112.  Highlights the need to include product circularity and resource-intensity into cross-border adjustment mechanisms;

Making circularity work for people, regions and cities

113.  Acknowledges the important role that regional governments, local authorities and communities and SMEs play in the circular economy, in waste management and in the implementation of the measures included in the Circular Economy Action Plan; calls on the Commission and Member States to support the establishment and cooperation of circularity hubs in all European regions, industrials clusters and local communities in the spirit of the proposed “New European Bauhaus”, providing support to the development of circular models in design, procurement and waste management;

114.  Supports the idea of updating the Skills Agenda for the circular economy and calls on the Commission to tailor this Agenda to specific employment needs, including education and training requirements as well as new jobs needed in the transition to a circular economy ; calls on the Commission to ensure that the Circular Economy Action plan is linked to implementation of the European Pillar of social right and gender equality strategy and to ensure a just transition; stresses also the crucial role of social partners in work-related and social aspects of the shift to a circular economy;

115.  Stresses the key role of consumers in waste prevention and waste management and the need to facilitate the involvement of citizens in separate waste collection; reiterates the importance for Member States and regional and local authorities to raise public awareness about sustainable consumption, including consumption models based on reuse, renting or sharing, and about waste prevention and the efficient sorting and disposal of waste;

116.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that circular economy principles are embedded in all practices, and calls on the Commission to support the Member States in sharing knowledge and best practices in relation to different circular economy efforts at regional and local level in the EU;

117.  Highlights the importance of cooperation between governments, local authorities academia and businesses, including both producers and buyers, in order to stimulate and scale up circular economy actions; underlines the importance of extending this cooperation to other stakeholders, such as social enterprises, start-ups and NGO’s;

118.  Notes that the repair and maintenance services sector has a considerable potential to generate job opportunities, and its development must be supported and promoted, in particular local, grassroots and community repair initiatives, co-operatives and social enterprises;

119.  Underlines the role that environmentally safe Carbon Capture Storage and Utilisation (CCS/U) can play in reaching the European Green Deal objectives; supports an integrated policy context to stimulate the uptake of environmentally safe CCS/U applications that deliver a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to make heavy industry climate neutral where no direct emission reduction options are available(39); reaffirms, however, that the EU net-zero strategy should prioritise direct emission reductions and actions maintaining and enhancing the EU’s natural sinks and reservoirs(40);

Leading efforts at global level

120.  Supports the Commission’s ambition to revise the Waste Shipment Regulation in order to ensure transparency and traceability of intra-EU trade in waste, halt the export to third countries of waste that causes environmental or human health damage and tackle unlawful behaviour more effectively with the aim of ensuring that all waste is treated in accordance with circular economy principles; furthermore, supports the Commission in implementing the recent amendments to the Basel Convention on plastic waste and to act in full respect of EU obligations under this Convention; asks the Commission to also focus on:

   financial incentives to establish a real single market and a level playing field for high-quality secondary raw materials;
   facilitating procedures to promote recycling capacities and infrastructures to treat waste within the EU;
   implementing the Electronic Data Interexchange (EDI) system to better monitor waste flows
   implementing the revision of the Waste Shipment Regulation(41) and the Waste Framework Directive;

121.  Welcomes the Global Alliance for Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency to accelerate the global transition to a climate-neutral, resource-efficient and circular economy, and invites the Commission to lead the efforts on an international agreement on the management of natural resources to stay within a ‘planetary boundaries’ for natural resource use;

122.  Supports the Commission’s efforts at international level to reach a global agreement on plastics, and to promote the global uptake of the EU’s circular economy approach on plastics; underlines the need to ensure that the various commitments made at both the EU and global levels can be tracked in an integrated and transparent manner; calls on the Commission and the Member States to show active leadership to continue working on international responses for combating plastic marine litter and micro-plastics;

123.  Underlines the importance of requiring that primary and secondary raw materials imported to the EU comply with human rights, human health and environmental protection standards that are equivalent to EU standards, including through the upcoming legislative proposal of the Commission on sustainable corporate governance and due diligence, and to ensure a level playing field in the key supply chains of the EU; stresses the importance of ensuring coherence between the Union’s internal and external policies with regards to the objectives of the European Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan, including in the Union’s external relations and in foreign trade agreements;

124.  Calls on European producers to take responsibility when selling products in third countries and proposes that industrial stakeholders commit to extending their producer responsibility to organising or financing the separate collection of their products when becoming waste in third countries; also calls on producers to address inconsistencies in relation to the quality of exported products and products sold in the EU market;

125.  Supports the Commission to promote multilateral discussions on sustainable levels of resource use and planetary boundaries, including the exploration of science-based targets for resource use;

126.  Emphasises the urgent need to implement the 2030 Agenda on matters relating to strengthening the international management and protection against the health and environmental harms caused by chemicals; particularly stresses the importance of the ongoing process under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) to decide upon a strong framework for the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 at ICCM 5 in Bonn July 2021;

127.  Urges the Commission to promote the use of resource-efficiency indicators through international conventions in order to allow comparability between industries and economies and to ensure a level playing field, and to support dialogue and cooperation with third countries;

128.  Taking into account the premise of the earth’s finite resources, an International Convention on Resource Sufficiency should be established to host discussions on access and implications of resource use with sustainability and equity at its core;

129.  Recalls that in addition to adopting measures to reach the EU objective of climate neutrality by 2050, it is necessary to address the carbon footprint in the EU’s demand for imported products; calls on the Commission to identify and abolish barriers to green growth, eco-innovation and those that prevent or restrict market access for circular products and services from outside the EU; calls on the Commission to investigate the possibilities and benefits of reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers on certain products and services in order to encourage the development of the circular economy, including in the context of the ongoing review of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP); encourages the Commission, in this regard, to add the circular economy dimension to the scope of the negotiations on the Environmental Goods Agreement, which should be stepped up; calls on the Commission to take into account the special needs of the EU’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to assist SMEs in integrating the circular economy in their business model, including through incentives, and to support them in the implementation of business strategies to export circular products, in particular through the launch of a risk assessment tool for rules of origin, as currently being considered by the Commission; calls on the Commission to lead the way in the WTO to address products based on their carbon content as a way to level the regulatory playing field;

130.  Considers that legally sound provisions are needed in trade agreements in order to safeguard relevant EU legislation on the circular economy from the notion of a trade barrier;

131.  Stresses that a strategic trade policy is an essential tool for advancing the transition to the circular economy and the EU’s and UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda globally by 2030, and underlines therefore the importance of ensuring that trade and investment agreements are aligned with circular economy policies;

132.  Encourages the Commission to engage in open and transparent dialogues and cooperation with the EU’s trading partners to further support the objectives of the circular economy; calls on the Commission and Member States to further deploy efforts in international fora (UNCTAD, WTO, G20, G7) to pursue the EU’s agenda on the circular economy and ensure a global level playing field with international partners through the possibility of exploring the concept of digital passports to foster the availability of data related to product’s content and carbon footprint and recyclability, to enable better circularity, promote extended producer responsibility (EPR), as well as sustainable consumer choices; suggests also in this regard that the Commission engages with the relevant multilateral organisations to reach agreement on an international label that is easy to understand for consumers, and indicates whether a product can be recycled; stresses, furthermore, that particular attention must be given to how less developed partner countries participate in and can benefit from the circular economy; calls on the Commission to integrate the circular economy principles in its strategy ‘Towards a comprehensive Strategy with Africa’ in particular; calls on the Commission to use Aid for Trade and GSP+ to help developing countries adopt circular economy practices, including product standards;

o   o

133.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(2) Text adopted P9_TA(2020)0201.
(3) OJ C 23, 21.1.2021, p. 116.
(4) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2019)0078.
(5) OJ C 334, 19.9.2018, p. 60.
(6) OJ C 265, 11.8.2017, p. 65.
(7) OJ C 433, 23.12.2019, p. 146.
(8) Texts adopted P9_TA(2020)0198.
(9) OJ L 177, 5.6.2020, p. 32.
(10) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0201.
(11) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0005.
(12) OJ C 433, 23.12.2019, p. 136.
(13) OJ C 433, 23.12.2019, p. 146.
(14) OJ C 76, 9.3.2020, p. 192.
(15) OJ L 155, 12.6.2019, p. 1.
(16) OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 109.
(17) OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 141.
(18) OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 100.
(19) OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 93.
(20) OJ L 353, 31.12.2008, p. 1.
(25) Environmental Indicator Report 2014: Environmental Impacts of Production-Consumption Systems in Europe. European Environmental Agency 2014.
(26) Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products (OJ L 285, 31.10.2009, p. 10).
(27) Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market and amending Council Directive 84/450/EEC, Directives 97/7/EC, 98/27/EC and 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council (‘Unfair Commercial Practices Directive’) (OJ L 149, 11.6.2005, p. 22).
(28) Directive (EU) 2016/943 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2016 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure (OJ L 157, 15.6.2016, p. 1).
(29) Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on consumer rights, amending Council Directive 93/13/EEC and Directive 1999/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 85/577/EEC and Directive 97/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 64).
(30) Directive (EU) 2019/771 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2019 on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sale of goods, amending Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 and Directive 2009/22/EC, and repealing Directive 1999/44/EC (OJ L 136, 22.5.2019, p. 28).
(31) Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on market surveillance and compliance of products and amending Directive 2004/42/EC and Regulations (EC) No 765/2008 and (EU) No 305/2011 (OJ L 169, 25.6.2019, p. 1).
(32) Directive 2014/53/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of radio equipment and repealing Directive 1999/5/EC (OJ L 153, 22.5.2014, p. 62).
(33) Directive 2010/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the indication by labelling and standard product information of the consumption of energy and other resources by energy-related products (OJ L 153, 18.6.2010, p. 1).
(34) Directive 2000/53/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 September 2000 on end-of life vehicles (OJ L 269, 21.10.2000, p. 34).
(35) Commission Decision 97/129/EC of 28 January 1997 establishing the identification system for packaging materials pursuant to European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste (OJ L 50, 20.2.1997, p. 28).
(36) Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption (OJ L 330, 5.12.1998, p. 32).
(37) Council Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban waste-water treatment (OJ L 135, 30.5.1991, p. 40).
(38) Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives(OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3).
(39) European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal, paragraph 33.
(40) European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2019 on climate change – a European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy in accordance with the Paris Agreement, paragraph 13.
(41) Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste (OJ L 190, 12.7.2006, p. 1).

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