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APSRG work recognised in latest European Circular Economy package

APSRG work recognised in latest European Circular Economy package

3rd December 2015

About the APSRG

The APSRG is the leading forum informing the debate between parliamentarians, business leaders and the sustainable resource community. Our mission is to provide an objective platform for effective communications between policy-makers, businesses and organisations with an interest in the sustainable resource management agenda and to raise awareness of sustainable resource issues within Parliament. Visit the APSRG website to find out more.

The EU Circular Economy Package

The revised Circular Economy package has been formally published by the European Commission. The long-awaited document, ‘Closing the loop – an EU action plan for the Circular Economy’, recognises the opportunities that moving towards a circular economy can provide both socially and environmentally. Whilst focussing on some general aspects of our economy, such as product design and the role that both producers and consumers can have in this transition, the revised package also addresses the following sectors or issues more specifically: plastics, food waste, critical raw materials, biomass, and industrial and mining waste.

Within each section the Commission lists commitments that it will follow, as well as actions that Member States are asked to take, either by way of regulation or voluntary agreement.

The APSRG is delighted that the Commission considers, inter alia, product design, production processes, consumption and waste management as well as how to boost the market for secondary raw materials. In particular the APSRG is thrilled that the Commission will revise legislative proposals on waste to establish more harmonised rules to determine when a secondary raw material should no longer be legally considered as ‘waste’ by clarifying existing rules on ‘end-of-waste’. This will provide operators with more certainty and a level playing field. As identified in the APSRG report Triple Win (2014), this will also  significant and positive impact on the remanufacturing industry. Products with potential to be remanufactured are often classified as waste, resulting in some remanufacturers being unable to use or access these products for remanufacture due to permitting reasons. These revisions should overcome this issue.

Also considered by the Commission are specific sectors where more commitment is needed either on an EU or national level. These sectors are  plastics, food waste, critical raw materials, construction and demolition and biomass and bio-based products.

Finally, the Commission considers innovation, investment and other horizontal measures, and how to monitor progress towards achieving targets.

For the APSRG, the key highlight is the definition of remanufacturing included by the Commission. Remanufacturing is defined in footnote 11 of the package as “a series of manufacturing steps acting on an end-of-life part or product in order to return it to like-new or better performance, with corresponding warranty”. This adopts the APSRG’s definition of remanufacturing as in the 2014 report “Triple Win: The Social, Economic and Environmental Case for Remanufacturing” co-chaired by Barry Sheerman MP and the Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP.

Barry Sheerman MP commented on the EC’s package:

"The European Commission’s Circular Economy Package goes a long way to address the barriers to moving towards a more resource efficient economy. There is no doubt that this transition can support local and high-skilled jobs, as well as opportunities for social integration and cohesion. I am also thrilled that the Commission recognises that remanufacturing has the potential to develop in support of a circular economy.”

Barry Sheerman MP, APSRG Co-chair.