A new report into the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan has determined every action laid out in the plan has been implemented.
The report, published by the Commission yesterday, found that all 54 of the steps toward a circular economy laid out in the Circular Economy Action Plan – first drawn up in 2015 – have either been fully delivered or are in the process of delivery. The Commission has therefore stated that the plan “can be considered fully completed”.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said: “Circular economy is key to putting our economy onto a sustainable path and delivering on the global Sustainable Development Goals. This report shows that Europe is leading the way as a trail blazer for the rest of the world. At the same time more remains to be done to ensure that we increase our prosperity within the limits of our planet and close the loop so that there is no waste of our precious resources.”
Industry sectors pertaining to the circular economy employed over four million workers in the EU in 2016 – a rise of six per cent in comparison to 2012. The circular economy is also credited with providing new business opportunities: industry activity related to circularity, including repair, recycling and reuse of materials, generated nearly €147 billion in “value added” in 2016.
Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, said: “This report is very encouraging. It shows that Europe is on the right track in creating investment, jobs and new businesses. The future potential for sustainable growth is huge and Europe is indeed the best place for an environmentally-friendly industry to grow. This success is the result of European stakeholders and decision-makers acting together.”
In addition to its economic and industrial benefits, the Circular Economy Action Plan is designed to mitigate the effects of pollution and climate change: the EU’s plastics strategies mean that all plastic packaging sold in the EU is projected to be reusable or recyclable by 2030. The report notes, however, that action needs to continue on an EU-wide level in order to fully “close the loop”; both in order to further reduce waste and to increase the market benefits for EU businesses.