On Wednesday, December 2nd, the European Commission announced a series of measures aimed at supporting the development of a circular economy in the EU.
The European Commission wishes to send a clear message to the key players
First of all, people start to realize the great potential of circular economy. With an estimated potential gain of 630 billion euros per year for the industry, and about 600,000 new jobs created, the stakes for the transition to the circular economy are high for Europe. Such a transition would benefit the environment as well, because it could reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 6.3 million tons. This is why the European Commission wishes to send a clear message to the key players in the economy. The new package includes interesting incentives to eco-design the products and improve waste management.
This package of measures dedicated to the circular economy includes:
– New funds representing about 6 billion euros via the Horizon 2020 program and the structural funds,
– New regulations on the food market, with the objective of cutting food waste in half by 2030
– The creation of regulations for the second-hand material market, encouraging synergies among manufacturers
– An action plan for eco-design promoting the sustainability, upcycling, and repair of new products created.
– A section on plastics aiming at reducing their transformation into waste
With these measures, the European Commission is showing a clear desire to switch from a traditional linear economy to a true circular economy in which one person’s waste becomes another person’s resources.
As an illustration, Brieuc Saffré, the cofounder of Wiithaa, gave an interview contributing to a video of the Commission on the circular economy. In this video, Brieuc describes the Recy’go project on which we worked with La Poste, designing the second generation of the paper waste collection and upcycling service. He talks about the ways in which we have optimized streams of empty returning trucks to gain access to new resources, upcycle them, and create a new activity for La Poste.
It is essential to include sustainability in the design of products
In this video, the Commission defines the circular economy by using the example of natural cycles, looking at trees, dirt, or the light, to illustrate the notions of waste and reuse. Indeed, according to the Commission, we are the only species on this planet creating raw material waste. To avoid creating this waste and to transform trash into new resources, it is essential to include sustainability in the design of products, to lead the way for a true loop system.
Finally, Walter R.Stahel, one of the founding fathers of the circular economy also shared his opinion and definition of this concept in the video.