IMACE Brussels desk
New EU Circular Economy Action Plan
Updated: May 5, 2020
On 11 March, the Commission published its new Circular Economy Action Plan, one of the building blocks of the EU Green Deal. The Plan is part of the EU Industrial Strategy and lays out the actions that the EU will take to ensure sustainable growth while making sure that resources and materials stay in the economy as much as possible.
The Plan focuses mainly on resource-intensive sectors with high potential for circularity. Our sector may be concerned by initiatives in the following sectors:
Packaging. By 2030, all packaging in the EU should be recyclable and/or reusable. In that regard, the EU will aim at:
Reducing packaging waste - by reinforcing current targets if needed (as of 2021);
Incentivising design for packaging reuse and recyclability;
Elaborating an EU-wide harmonised model for separate collection of waste and labelling to facilitate separate collection (as of 2022).
Plastics. The Commission will strengthen its action on plastics by focusing on:
Elaborating mandatory requirements for recycled content and waste reduction measures for key products, including packaging (as of 2021);
Developing a policy framework related to sourcing, labelling and use of bio-based plastics for different applications (as of 2021);
Tackling the unintentional release of microplastics through labelling, standardisation, certification and regulatory measures, all along the product’s development (as of 2021);
Establishing rules to safely recycle plastic materials into food contact materials. This is particularly relevant in the case of recycled packaging for fat-based products, where contamination issues could arise.
Future actions taken on plastics and packaging may require more attention from our sector when it comes to the safety of food products. Stricter requirements for recycling content and/or labelling might also affect the price of the packaging material used for our products.
The Commission is expected to start acting soon in relation to the initiatives proposed in the Plan. You can get more information on the timeline of activities in the Annex to the Circular Economy Action Plan.