Binding targets needed for circular economy, MEPs say

28 Jan 2021

Image: © gerasimov174/

MEPs warn that the ‘take-make-dispose’ economy must end and call for measures against greenwashing and false environmental claims.

In order to achieve a carbon-neutral, environmentally sustainable and fully circular economy by 2050, MEPs have called for clear policy objectives in the EU.

Yesterday (27 January), the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety adopted its report on the EU Circular Economy Action Plan, with 66 votes in favour, six against and seven abstentions.

The plan, which was published in March 2020, is one of the main blocks of the European Green Deal and includes initiatives along the entire life cycle of products from design to consumption.

According to the EU, the global consumption of materials is expected to double in the next 40 years, while the amount of waste generated every year is projected to increase by 70pc by 2050.

In December 2020, the European Commission proposed to modernise EU legislation on batteries. When complete, this will be the first initiative delivered in the Circular Economy Action Plan.

What are MEPs calling for?

In the report adopted yesterday, MEPs called for science-based binding 2030 targets for materials use and consumption footprint, stating that the ‘take-make-dispose’ economy must come to an end.

To this end, they urged the European Commission to introduce harmonised, comparable and uniform circularity indicators for material and consumption footprints in 2021.

The committee also proposed product-specific or sector-specific binding targets for recycled content, while ensuring the performance and safety of the products concerned and that they are designed to be recycled.

MEP and report rapporteur Jan Huitema spoke about the importance of embracing the move towards a circular economy.

“Europe is not a resource-rich continent, but we have the skills, the expertise and the ability to innovate and develop the technologies needed to close loops and build a waste-free society,” he said. “This will create jobs and economic growth and bring us closer to reaching our climate goals. It’s a win-win.”

As part of the report, MEPs have also proposed introducing measures against greenwashing and false environmental claims, as well as legislative measures to stop practices that result in planned obsolescence.

They also want to strengthen the role of Green Public Procurement with mandatory targets and criteria, which have been developed to facilitate the inclusion of green requirements in public tender documents.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic