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Circular economy in European Union

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Circular economy

The circular economy is a generic term designating an economic concept which is part of sustainable development and particularly inspired notions of green economy, economy of use or functionality of the economy , economic performance and industrial ecology (which means that the waste from one industry will be recycled as raw material by another industry or the same).

Its aim is to produce goods and services while greatly limiting the consumption and waste of raw materials and sources of non-renewable energy.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (created to promote circular economy), it is an industrial economy which is, by design or intent, restorative and in which material flows are of two kinds well separated; biological nutrients for re-enter safely in biosphere, and technology entrants (“technical nutrients”), designed to be recycled remaining a high level of quality, without entering in the biosphere.

Many countries are implementing some support for circular economy, sometimes marked by example in Switzerland, where the Canton of Geneva has written it into its constitution, Japan (via a Framework Act) or in Scotland or in the city Roubaix where there is a zero waste policy). China has announced plans to develop 100 “model cities” in the field … A tour of the circular economy proposed by Olivier Dubigeon world.

The European Commission announced December 16, 2014 that will introduce in its 2015 agenda a review of the legislation on waste to make an ambitious legislative package on circular economy, but on February 25 the project was abandoned by the college of new Commissioners “because of a lack of agreement on its content at European Council level,” even though this project was “supported by companies, and a majority of MEPs and environment ministers,” despite “anger” of local authorities, the official support (notably manifested by a joint letter signed on December a, 2014) a dozen states (and their environment ministers) and the accession of major local authorities (the Committee of Regions in particular strongly requested his return (mid February 2015). The Committee of Regions request at least the urgent implementation of five measures:. prohibit the landfilling of recyclable and biodegradable waste on 1 January 2025, adopt a single rule calculating recycling rates across the EU, use of recycled products in product-marketing, set ambitious targets in terms of bio-waste recycling and resource productivity (at least 30% increase by 2030). A representative of the Commission announced at Bercy, January 22, 2015, that the package would not be “abandoned” but “revamped” to “encourage the use of labels and eco-design.”

Now there is a new, more comprehensive & ambitious plan that Commissioners’ are presenting. This agenda is essential for EU economy, for jobs in the future, for the environment – for sustainability on all levels: economic, social and environmental. The future is not in low-wage production, the future is not in making things with finite components. The future is providing services to the citizens in a long-term process. Services that then materialize in products, instead of the other way around, and products that are used and re-used time and time again, so that you reduce the use of raw materials and don’t deplete the earth’s natural resources. Circular economy – investments for the future! (EU statement)

Photo and video © European Commission, 2015

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