IATE Term of the Week: Circular Economy

300

Circular economy is a very important topic that has started to gain more and more popularity on the European Union agenda the last years. Europe produces around 2.5 billion tonnes of waste every year. What is particularly worrying is that if we continue using resources the way we do today, by 2050, there will not be any available resources left. This is the reason why the European Institutions find it crucial to address and tackle these matters as soon as possible with the goal to make society more carbon neutral, environmentally friendly and sustainable.

What is Circular Economy?

Circular economy is a model that focuses on reusing, sharing, repairing or recycling products with the intention to maintain the highest usability and value of them. The ultimate goal is to extend the life cycle of these products. This particular model differs significantly from the traditional economic model, as it relies on energy and large quantities of materials.

Since the world’s population is growing throughout the years, circular economy is a topic that needs to be taken seriously into consideration, as there is lack of raw supplies. However, what is most important are the benefits that come from the adoption of circular economy measures. These include, for instance, the pressure reduction towards the environment, the increase of competitiveness and innovation among EU markets, the improvement of raw material supplies, the boost of financial growth and, finally, the improvement of the job opportunities for the European citizens, as circular economy is about to create around 700.000 jobs by 2030.

The Circular Economy Action Plan of the European Commission

Since March 2020, the European Commission has launched the EU Action Plan for circular economy. The plan, part of the European Green Deal (Europe’s agenda for sustainable growth), primarily focuses on waste management and prevention with the aim to reinforce competitiveness, growth and promote EU leadership. The European Green Deal aims to improve the well-being and health of European citizens taking actions in sectors such as transport, agriculture, energy, climate or finance or regional development, among others. The Circular Economy Action Plan for a cleaner and more competitive Europe is based on the following core categories:

  1. The creation of a sustainable product policy framework with focus on the consumer and public buyer empowerment, product design and improved circularity during the production processes.
  2. Actions on electronics and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies), vehicles and batteries, textiles, construction, food, plastics and packaging. In that case, the measures include various initiatives such as the Circular Electronics Initiative, efforts to mitigate the usage of dangerous substances, proposals for new battery frameworks, policy frameworks for plastics and an EU Strategy for Textiles and a Sustainable Built Environment, among others.
  3. More initiatives to create the environment for more product value and less waste by implementing various actions to reinforce circularity and waste prevention. These initiatives will also point out the importance of noticing the issue of various substances, providing a flourishing EU Market for raw materials. They will include more actions in the topics of economics, research or innovation and will make sure to promote circular economy internationally.

Adopting the initiatives proposed by the Commission’s Action Plan will empower consumers and improve their life quality whilst ensuring less waste for European cities. Making steps towards a more circular economy will make Europe a safer and more sustainable place for the future generations.

References:

Circular economy: definition, importance and benefits | News | European Parliament. 2022. Circular economy: definition, importance and benefits | News | European Parliament. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/priorities/circular-economy/20151201STO05603/circular-economy-definition-importance-and-benefits. [Accessed 21 March 2022].

Environment. 2022. Circular economy action plan. [ONLINE] Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/strategy/circular-economy-action-plan_en. [Accessed 22 March 2022].

European Commission – European Commission. 2022. A European Green Deal | European Commission. [ONLINE] Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_en. [Accessed 21 March 2022].

Green Deal: key to a climate-neutral and sustainable EU | News | European Parliament. 2022. Green Deal: key to a climate-neutral and sustainable EU | News | European Parliament. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/priorities/climate-change/20200618STO81513/green-deal-key-to-a-climate-neutral-and-sustainable-eu. [Accessed 21 March 2022].

European Parliament. 2022. Legislative train schedule | European Parliament. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/legislative-train/theme-a-european-green-deal/file-new-circular-economy-action-plan. [Accessed 22 March 2022].


Written by Ioanna Mavridou

Ioanna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Translation from the Ionian University in Corfu, working with legal, medical and technical translation. A language and communications enthusiast, she is currently completing her Master’s in Communication from Gothenburg University in Sweden and is also studying towards a Social Media & Digital Marketing certification. She is a Communications Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament.