European Parliament Approves New Circular Economy Action Plan


12 February 2021

circular3The European Parliament has approved the Commission’s new Circular Economy Action Plan and highlighted the different legislative actions to be taken by the EU Commission in 2021 to deliver the objectives.

In a resolution issued on 10 February 2021, the European Parliament emphasized 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. 

The new policy framework will encourage a move away from the "current linear take-make-dispose” economy and pave the way for a truly circular economy, based on the following key principles:

  • Reduction in energy and resource use
  • Retention of value in the economy
  • Waste prevention
  • 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
  • Regenerating natural systems

In the resolution, the Parliament calls on the Commission to bring forward legislative proposals to achieve a carbon-neutral, sustainable, toxic-free and fully circular economy by 2050. In particular, the Parliament urges the EU Commission to deliver on the following actions:

  • Propose binding targets for 2030 to reduce EU materials and consumption footprints
  • Propose product-specific and/or sector-specific binding targets for recycled content
  • Establish a new ‘right to repair’ which should cover the extended life cycle of products, access to spare parts as well as access to comprehensive information and affordable repair services for consumers
  • Facilitate consumer decision-making through clear and easily understandable harmonized labeling such as index on product durability and reparability and development of a uniform repair score
  • Broaden the scope of the Ecodesign Directive to include non-energy-related products
  • Set up product specific standards for performance, durability, reusability, reparability, non-toxicity, upgradability, recyclability, recycled content, and resource and energy efficiency
  • Introduce digital product passports to help companies, consumers and market surveillance authorities keep track of products' climate, environmental, social and other impacts throughout the value chain
  • Harmonized, comparable and uniform circularity indicators, consisting of material footprint and consumption footprint indicators on resource efficiency and ecosystem services to be introduced by 2021
  • Make all packaging reusable or recyclable by 2030 and adopt waste reduction measures, targets and ambitious requirements to reduce excessive packaging
  • Adopt a general phase-out of intentionally added microplastics and reduce, through mandatory regulatory measures, unintentional release of all microplastics
  • Adopt a new comprehensive EU strategy for textiles to promote sustainability and circularity as well as traceability and transparency of the EU textile and clothing sector

574 MEPs voted in favor of the Action Plan. 22 MEPs voted against while 95 abstained.

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