Circular economy

11 Dec 2014
Adopted References: NAT/651 EESC-2014-05002-00-00-ac-tra Referral - Rapporteur: Ms. An LE NOUAIL MARLIÈRE (Workers - GR II / France) Plenary Session: 503 - 10 Dec 2014 - 11 Dec 2014 (Summary Plenary Session) OJ C 230, 14.7.2015, p. 91–98
Opinion on the Communication from the Commission "Towards a circular economy: A zero waste programme for Europe" ON THE Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directives 2008/98/EC on waste, 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste, 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste, 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles, 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators, and 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment AND ON THE Communication from the Commission on resource efficiency opportunities in the building sector

EESC opinion: Circular economy

Key points

  • The Committee welcomes the two communications and the package of amendments to the waste directives and supports the campaign to make all businesses and consumers aware of the need to phase out the current linear economic model of "take, make, consume and dispose" and accelerate the transition to a circular model that is restorative by design and aims to rely on renewable energy, in order to minimise the use of natural resources. However, the Committee regrets that the specific proposals put forward by the Commission focus too much on waste policies and legislation while similar specific proposals "upstream" aimed at improving the entire lifecycle of products are missing.
  • The framework proposed by the European Commission should share the work involved in promoting awareness and changing behaviour fairly between stakeholders: looking to the future, achieving scientific progress, introducing innovative applications, and safeguarding Europe's competitiveness and the common interest should all be kept in balance. Consumers and producers must be made aware of their responsibilities.