Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and Council: towards a circular economy.
The Commission will further analyse the major market and governance failures which hamper the avoidance and reuse of material waste, taking account of the heterogeneity of material types and their uses, to contribute to an enabling policy framework for resource efficiency at EU level.
Circular economy approaches ‘design out’ waste and typically involve innovation throughout the value chain, rather than relying solely on solutions at the end of life of a product. For example, they may include:
- reducing the quantity of materials required to deliver a particular service (lightweighting);
- lengthening products’ useful life (durability);
- reducing the use of energy and materials in production and use phases (efficiency);
- reducing the use of materials that are hazardous or difficult to recycle in products and production processes (substitution);
- creating markets for secondary raw materials (recyclates) (based on standards, public procurement, etc.);
- designing products that are easier to maintain, repair, upgrade, remanufacture or recycle (ecodesign);
- developing the necessary services for consumers in this regard (maintenance/repair services, etc.);
- incentivising and supporting waste reduction and high-quality separation by consumers;
- incentivising separation, collection systems that minimise the costs of recycling, and reuse;
- facilitating the clustering of activities to prevent by-products from becoming wastes (industrial symbiosis);
- encouraging wider and better consumer choice through renting, lending or sharing services as an alternative to owning products, while safeguarding consumer interests (in terms of costs, protection, information, contract terms, insurance aspects, etc).
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