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The European Commission launched a 12-week public consultation based on the main policy options which it says will feed into the development of an “ambitious new approach” on the circular economy.

The consultation has been launched in order to “present a new, more ambitious circular economy strategy late in 2015, to transform Europe into a more competitive resource-efficient economy, addressing a range of economic sectors, including waste”.

The Circular Economy Strategy will be fully aligned with the priorities of the new Commission and will comprise a revised legislative proposal on waste and a communication setting out an action plan on the circular economy for the rest of this commission’s term of office”.

The policy options will look at waste policy “and beyond” and address the full product lifecycle, the Commission said, including actions on intelligent product design, reuse and repair or products, recycling, sustainable consumption, recycling levels, smart use of raw materials, stronger markets for secondary raw materials and “specific sectorial measures”.

A Roadmap document accompanying the circular economy consultation does not specify the main policy options, but states that a “broad spectrum of policy options” – including legislative, non-legislative and financial instruments – will be assessed with a view to “identifying areas for priority action”.

The consultation runs until August 20 2015 and invites views on “various parts of the economic cycle” from citizens, public authorities, businesses and governmental and non-governmental parties. A separate public consultation on waste market distortions is already ongoing.

The chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA), Charlotte Morton, said:

“As the population continues to rise, economic growth can only be sustainable if we better manage our resources, cut carbon emissions and invest in our ageing infrastructure. To keep moving in the right direction, the revitalised circular economy package will need to recognise the huge potential for green job creation, resource security, environmental protection and economic growth.”

She continued:

“An ambitious circular economy package will cultivate a thriving domestic and international market in recycled material, such as digestate, helping to establish new markets for biochemicals and bioplastics, and cement the UK’s position as one of Europe’s leaders on food waste AD facilities and technology.”

sustainable wast emanagementResources and Waste UK (R&WUK) launched a ‘manifesto’, entitled ‘Sustainable resource and waste: priorities for the new UK government’.

Resources and Waste UK (R&WUK) is the newly created partnership between the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and Environmental Services Association (ESA). It is a unique partnership of the professional institution and trade association at the heart of the sustainable resources and waste management industry in the UK. It has been created to form a single voice in the interests of championing the future of resource management.

They have so far proposed action on six priority areas where they believe the most serious challenges lie for the resources and waste sector in the short to medium term:

1. Supporting and improving waste collection and recycling performance

2. Improving the climate for investment in circular economy infrastructure to deliver sustainable growth and jobs

3. Boosting domestic UK demand and markets for recycled materials

4. Creating the right regulatory balance between hitting waste criminals hard and encouraging legitimate businesses in the industry

5. Delivering coherent resources and waste policy across governmental departments and between the four UK governments

6. Engaging positively in policy development for resources and wastes at a European level

According to the ESA executive director Jacob Hayler:

“The medium to long term outlook for our sector is hugely positive, but right now every part of the supply chain is facing significant challenges to some degree or another”

“Local government funding for recycling is, and will continue to be, squeezed; UK reprocessing capacity is being buffeted by global market trends; the investment landscape for new waste infrastructure remains challenging; and the strategic planning necessary to ensure that the UK extracts the maximum material and energy value from its waste is not happening in a holistic way. Failure to act on waste crime and turning our back on Europe’s role in driving resource efficiency and a more circular economic approach could also have serious longer term consequences for the UK’s resources and waste sector.”

Compliance & Safety Manager at GPT Waste, Tony Baker said:

“The  “Circular Economy” ideal as it relates to the UK waste and resource management sector is open to many interpretations and is both interesting and challenging. The eliminate, reuse and recycling categories from the “Waste Hierarchy” are currently seen as main contributors to the circular concept from our industry. Other circular economy activities such as repair, refurbish and remanufacture are less so. It is most likely that these activities will provide the future realisation opportunities in the “waste” sector”.

We would like to know what are your opinions are on the circular economy? Do you think that the model is the future or destined for failure?


Let’s Recycle

Recycling Waste World

Resource and Waste UK

EC Europa